Will Voters Stick With Biden’s Outlook For America, Or Take It In A Different Direction?

WASHINGTON (AP) – With his party’s control of Congress looming, President Joe Biden toured the country this fall trying to turn the midterm elections into a choice between two visions for America. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to stick with his vision or take the country in a different direction.

Biden is facing tough challenges in elections that will set the dynamic for the rest of his first term. Presidents tend to see their party suffer major setbacks in their second year in office, and on top of that, Biden is saddled with a cloudy economic picture and the limits of his own popularity.

In the final sprint of the campaign, Biden has tried to rely on a message that touts his achievements – many of which will take years to truly be felt – and warns of the consequences of a GOP takeover of the Conference.

Biden has tried to express firm optimism about convening Congress, saying Friday that he feels “very good” about holding majorities in the House and Senate. Consultants say voters generally support the president’s agenda, even if they are down on the overall direction of the country because of inflation, gas prices and the desperate need for political discourse.

A key question is whether voters will give Democrats more time to deliver on the progress they’ve promised — infrastructure projects underway, drug prices expected to fall, climate change plans years away from being implemented. completely. Or will they turn elsewhere in search of more immediate solutions to pressing economic concerns?

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Democratic Senate candidate Lt.  Gov.  John Fetterman, Saturday, November 5, 2022, in Philadelphia.
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Saturday, November 5, 2022, in Philadelphia.

Patrick Semansky via Associated Press

It didn’t help Biden’s cause that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin chose the weekend before the election to issue blistering criticism of Biden’s goal of finally keeping coal energy safe. Manchin’s debacle was a last-minute embarrassment that risked hurting critical Democratic campaigns in Pennsylvania.

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Biden advisers argue that the current political environment is far different from 2010, when Democratic candidates blocked the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law, and lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in Arizona or Nevada, or Pennsylvania, they all have Democratic elected officials who are communicating with their constituents, talking about the things that have been done for the American people who have been raised. President Biden’s vision and what he’s accomplished,” White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon said at a forum hosted by Axios last week. “And that’s a significant difference from other midterm seasons.”

In a sign of how Biden hopes his agenda will play out over time, that health law has survived dozens of GOP-led repeal efforts and is now popular with voters.

Cedric Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman and senior Biden aide who is now a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said it was important for Biden in the final days of the campaign to reinforce his accomplishments to voters.

“One of the most important things I think is that he continues to remind people of all the things he’s doing to keep this country moving in the right direction,” Richmond said. “We know there are challenges out there, but we’re meeting them and we’re not dividing the country.”

President Joe Biden adjusts his microphone as he speaks at Jones Elementary School on Nov. 5, 2022, in Joliet, Illinois.
President Joe Biden adjusts his microphone as he speaks at Jones Elementary School on Nov. 5, 2022, in Joliet, Illinois.

Michael Blackshire/Chicago Tribune via Getty Images

“If we lose the House and the Senate, it’s going to be a terrible two years,” he said Friday at a fundraiser outside Chicago.

He argues that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare, reverse Democrats’ efforts to lower prescription drug costs and impose a national ban on abortion. “The good news is that I will have a veto pen,” Biden said.

White House officials say that even if Biden is not personally on the ground in some of the most contested states, he has helped set up Democrats there for success by delivering a message that resonates across the country, regardless where he is campaigning.

Advisers say Biden bears no ill will toward Democratic candidates in Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Georgia who have tried to keep him at arm’s length. After 50 years in public life, they say, Biden recognizes that it is often advantageous for lawmakers to carve out their own identity differently from their party leader.

Instead, Biden has turned out for low-key, but equally competitive House races, where aides and candidates welcome the president’s ability to drive local news coverage.

For Biden, that has meant more than two dozen political events to boost Democratic candidates since August, along with many ostensibly official events, such as the groundbreaking for a new technology manufacturing facility or a speech to introduce plans advanced to cut the price of insulin for older adults. , which draws a contrast with Republicans.

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In fact, first lady Jill Biden is even more popular than Biden in some places. She campaigned Saturday in Arizona with Sen. Mark Kelly and earlier in New Hampshire with Sen. Maggie Hassan, both in tight re-election races.

First Lady Jill Biden congratulates Democratic Senate candidate US Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) during a campaign event on November 05, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona.  Kelly is in a tight race against Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters.
First Lady Jill Biden congratulates Democratic Senate candidate US Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) during a campaign event on November 05, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. Kelly is in a tight race against Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters.

Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Over the summer, Democrats seized the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in the hope of encouraging women and the party’s core supporters. In recent weeks he has emphasized his criticism of “mega MAGA” Republicans – short for Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.

He has also expanded efforts to contrast his agenda with the GOPs to include what he sees as Republican threats to democracy. That was the thrust of Wednesday’s speech near the Capitol in which he warned that some in the Republican Party were inciting political violence.

Republicans, in recent days, have taken on the economic concerns of the people.

“Biden’s agenda has hurt families trying to get by,” Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said Friday. “Lower real wages, higher taxes, and out-of-control inflation have made it harder for Americans to get ahead. In a few days, voters will send a clear message that they’ve had enough of the Democrats’ radical agenda.”

Some Democrats, already looking to shift blame before the election, have been critical of Biden’s messaging, arguing that he should focus more on reassuring Americans about high prices.

“I hope some people in the White House are watching,” Faiz Shakir, an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told MSNBC on Wednesday hours before Biden’s speech. “I would hope they are rewriting it and focusing on cost of living.”

Biden’s allies reject the argument, saying voters care about more than one issue. They say abortion and the prospect of election candidates-refuse to help open the door for some GOP-continuing voters to go with the Democrats.

Richmond, the former Biden adviser, said the president is talking about the economy and what he is doing to combat inflation. “If a candidate can’t articulate that … that’s on them.”



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