WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Democrats are set to take over the House after mid-November elections. He will hold on to at least four seats in the Senate while expanding his majority and overcoming internal discontent, which has helped stifle his agenda.
As the challenges facing President Joe Biden intensify, his predictions of a bright political future for the Democratic Party are becoming bolder. Assessments, given in speeches, fundraisers, and conversations with friends and colleagues, seem odd with a country he acknowledged this week was “really, really down”. Burdened by a pandemic, gas prices rise and rising inflation,
Biden’s optimistic outlook tracks with a sense of optimism that has carried through his nearly five-decade career and was at the center of his 2020 presidential campaign, which he said seeks to restore the “spirit of America.” was created. In a long Oval Office interview with The Associated Press On Thursday, Biden said part of his job as president is to be “confident.”
“Because I believe it,” he said. “We are in a better position than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the 21st century. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s a fact.”
While the president often tries to emphasize the positive, there is a risk at this time that Biden contributes to the dissonance between Washington and people across the country who are facing real and growing economic pain.
Few political advisers close to Biden are as optimistic about the party’s prospects as president. In interviews with nearly a half-dozen people in and around the White House, there is a widespread sense that Democrats will lose control of Congress and that many of the party’s leading candidates will lose out in a down-ballot race and contest for governor. Biden unable to offer much help.
The seeming separation between Biden’s vision and political reality has worried some in the party The White House has not fully understood how bad this election year could be for Democrats.
Will Marshall, president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, said, “I don’t expect a president to go out and say, ‘You know what,’ we’re going to lose the next election.” With the White House policy team. Instead of serving Joe Biden well, Marshall said, “There will be a calming feeling of, ‘Look, we’re probably in for a tough night in November and our strategy should be to remind the country what’s at stake. ”
The White House is hardly ignoring the problem.
In the years since Democrats have worked in political silos, there has been a greater focus on marshalling resources. Jane O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s 2020 campaign manager who now serves as one of his deputy chiefs of staff, runs the political team from the West Wing along with longtime Texas-based Democratic political adviser Amy Ruiz.
O’Malley Dillon coordinates strategy between the White House, the Democratic National Committee, and an array of outside party groups. Cedric Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman who co-chaired Biden’s 2020 campaign and was one of his closest White House advisers, left for a job with the DNC in April. He portrayed the move as underlining the administration’s full understanding of the importance of the medium term.
“We understand that if you can’t win you can’t rule,” Richmond said in an interview. “We are treating it with a sense of urgency.”
The president’s political message is being honed by Mike Donillon, a longtime Biden ally, a defender of Biden’s public image, and veteran party strategist Anita Dunn, who is returning to the White House for a second term.
Richmond praised Dunn’s political instincts and said he believed he would collaborate with O’Malley Dillon, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein and others to promote messaging, which many in his own party underestimated. can count.
“If I had a penny for every time Democrats had to count Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, I would be freely rich,” Richmond said.
Biden turned to Dunn during a notably less political moment in February 2020, giving him sweeping control of his then-cash-laden presidential campaign, as it appeared on the verge of collapse after a disastrous fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses Gave.
Barely a week later, Biden left New Hampshire before its primary election even called off, eventually finishing fifth., But he finished second in Nevada, easily conquered South Carolina, and in the few days that followed, he saw the Democratic establishment rally around him at breakneck speed. O’Malley Dillon then joined the campaign and oversaw Biden’s general election victory.
A similar reversal of political fortunes may now be necessary.
But while White House officials hoped last year that voters might be convinced of Biden’s achievements and reverse their dismal outlook on national direction, aides now acknowledge that such an uphill battle is now worth fighting. Not there. Instead, he implored the president to be more open about his frustrations—particularly on inflation—to show voters that he shares his concerns and to address these issues with Republicans and theirs. Put policies in the form of constraints.
Although he has increasingly expressed anger about inflation, Biden has publicly berated some of his party’s concerns about this decline. Instead opting for relentless positivity.
“I think there are at least four seats that we can take in the Senate,” the president said at a recent gathering of donors in Maryland., “And we’re going to keep the House.”
Biden meant Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with potential long shots in North Carolina or Florida possibly representing No. Some colleagues consider the assessment too optimistic. They say that the president simply wants to increase his base with such predictions. When asked if it was possible that Democrats could win four seats in the Senate, one laughed openly.
The party’s chances of retaining control of the House may be bleak. Still, Tim Persico, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is accused of defending the party’s narrow majority, said Biden is an asset.
“We love when the president is talking to the country,” Persico said. “There will always be disappointment. I totally get it. But I think he’s his own best messenger.”
Biden has traveled more since last fall, promoting a $1 trillion public works package that became law in November, which includes competitive field visits in Minnesota, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire. During Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne’s visit to the Iowa swing district, the president declared, “My name is Joe Biden. I work for Congress Mahila Xne.
But Bernie Sanders, the final challenger to whom Biden won the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is making his Iowa trip this weekend to rally the striking activists. In construction and agricultural equipment plants.
The 80-year-old Vermont senator has ruled out a third presidential bid in 2024 if Biden should not be re-elected. It has revived questions about whether the 79-year-old Biden may choose not to run – speculation that remains despite the White House’s political campaign gearing up for a truce between and beyond.
“I think a lot of people in the Democratic Party are, rightfully so, concerned about what’s going to happen in 2024. It shouldn’t be ill-intentioned,” said Lynn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, whose district’s Cedars Includes Rapids, Iowa. , and who was a high-profile Sanders supporter during the previous campaign. “I think people are asking the Democratic Party, ‘Is Joe Biden going to run again? Is he not going to run again?'”
Walker noted that other Democrats who could seek the White House in 2024 if Biden joined Sanders in signing a letter supporting more than 1,000 plant workers, including Massachusetts Sen. They are on strike for better pay and benefits. month.
“It is responsible, I think, to those within the Democratic Party who have the profile, who have the infrastructure, to dust off the playbook to make sure it is still in good working condition. Must lick,” said Walker.
Asked if Biden was running again in 2024, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president has answered such questions repeatedly and “their answers are very simple, which Yes, he is contesting again.”
The more immediate question of Biden’s midterm appeal could be even more complicated. He campaigned for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia last November, after easily winning the state in 2020. McAuliffe lost by 2 percentage points.A potentially bad omen for the 16 governorships Democrats are defending this fall.
“We know there are going to be national headwinds, there always are,” Stacey AbramsThe Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia recently said. But she insisted she would be happy to campaign with Biden or top members of his administration: “I welcome anyone willing to raise Georgia, come to Georgia, and help me get it done.”
That was a departure from Democrat Beto O’Rourke.running for governor in Texas, who told reporters, “I’m not interested in any national politician — anyone outside Texas — coming to this state to help decide the outcome of this race.” Is.”
Biden political advisers say a possible Supreme Court ruling would reverse the historic Roe v. Wade rulingAlso the recent mass shootings sparked a renewed debate on gun violence., giving Democrats two issues that could energize voters. But they also acknowledge that one or both parties could help candidates in an already close race – not a remake of the political landscape across the country.
Meanwhile, Biden’s overall approval rating hit a new low up 39% last month. Even in his own party, only 33% of respondents said the country was moving in the right direction, up from 49% in April. The president’s approval rating among Democrats stood at 73%, falling sharply from last year, when Biden’s Democratic approval rating never slid below 82%.
White House political advisers are already downplaying the possibility that some of the party’s weakest candidates could distinguish themselves from the president. As a former senator, Biden understands such maneuvers, he says.
The White House also noted that the president and his party are in a better position now than they were before the mid-2010s, when a Tea Party wave saw Republicans win back Congress. Since taking office, Biden’s political team has made significant investments in the DNC and state parties, and all sides are cooperating.
The DNC says it has never been bigger, with 450 staff members on the state party payroll, or sporting a more robust ground operation. It has raised $213 million to date, a mid-term record. But DNC President Jaime Harrison is nonetheless trying to allay concerns that donors’ contributions are going to waste, saying, “We’re not publicizing it everywhere.”
“When you’re at the Super Bowl, do you think the coach puts all his plays on Twitter, and says, ‘Here’s what we’re going to run?,'” Harrison told Biden at a Los Angeles fundraiser. said in last weekend. “No. We don’t keep all our stuff there.”
He added that the group is “making a campaign to make sure that, when those close elections are in November, we win them.”