WASHINGTON – That’s traditional political wisdom as old as the hills in the United States: the party that controls the White House rarely performs well during tenure.
But Republican Glenn Youngkin’s convincing victory in November’s election in Virginia, combined with his party’s stronger-than-expected performance in New Jersey, sent some Democrats on Capitol Hill pilot the lifeboats ahead of the 2022 election.
And some observers are even wondering whether Joe Biden, who hasn’t even spent a year as president, becomes a serious liability.
Mark Rozell, professor of political science at George Mason University in Arlington, Va. River from Washington, DC
“But given the perception – even if it’s unfair – that the Biden administration has stumbled multiple times, Republicans are now well positioned to do well next year. This will be a tough second half of a term for the government. Biden rights, for sure.”
Of course, the second half of that year won’t start until 2023, which is why it’s likely the White House will redouble its efforts next year to advance its legislative agenda – an effort that has made significant progress in 2021, though opinion polls have produced a deadlocked Senate.
Biden scored two key wins, a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill and a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, before the focus of spending. His $1.75 trillion worth of society and building back to a better climate faltered at the end of the year, largely in the hands of Senator Joe. Manchin, moderate Democrat from West Virginia.
Despite that, however, Biden’s approval rating remains low – a possible consequence of, according to experts, public frustration with the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an illustration of the inherent political challenges of trying to govern in times of domestic crisis.
“Some of this is an inability – and I’m not sure if any other administration could do it better – but an inability to communicate on a truly personal level about how people’s lives are. People are better because the Democrats are in Washington right now,” said Jennifer Lawless, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
A flurry of negative news, from the pandemic and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan to supply chain challenges and the inflation march, has drained an American population already steeped in an atmosphere of segregation. political poles, Lawless said.
It’s a supercharged version of managing during a recession, when even major political victories don’t distract voters from the existential challenges they face in everyday life. day. And it could lead to an unlikely scenario in 2024: a sitting president facing a major challenge while past and future rival Donald Trump searches for his own nomination. .
“The pandemic is even more complicated than a bad economic year, because almost any move that you make alienates and isolates the opposition, which then causes attention. more to the moves you’ve made,” Lawless said.
Two perfect examples: the vaccine and mask mandate, both of which have served to further divide an already deeply divided country.
“Things that could go toward ending the pandemic have become so politicized that it’s hard to see whether there’s a winner or a loser – even if there’s a public health decision that in real life you would think it’s just a matter of fact. is victory.”
At this point, some Canadians might think a power shift on Capitol Hill wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
The Build Back Better bill is where the Biden administration rolled out a controversial incentive plan to encourage American consumers and automakers alike to build and buy American-built electric vehicles, especially especially those manufactured by union labor.
Canada has warned the tax credit scheme will collapse its own auto sector, and has threatened to roll out a series of retaliatory tariffs and even suspend key elements of the US-Mexico Agreement- Canada if the proposal – close and friendly even though it is the heart of the president – still passes.
The Senate, still split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, has effectively abandoned an ambitious attempt to pass the bill before the holiday season, and last week Biden looked downbeat. that it will soon return to normal.
“It will take time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and complete all the congressional and procedural steps necessary to enable a vote in the Senate,” the work said. continue in the coming days and weeks,” Biden said in a statement Thursday.
“At the same time, we must also push for suffrage legislation and make progress on this as quickly as possible. I had a productive chat with several Senators today about how we can get this right. could pass this important law. Our democracy is at stake.”
Ah yes, the right to vote: the long-promised act designed to thwart what critics say is an attempt by Republicans at the state level to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, mapping elections and launching efforts to cast doubt on election results.
It’s an existential threat to Democrats, for obvious reasons – a threat greater than ever given the 2024 presidential election in which the former commander-in-chief is widely expected. will play his familiar oversized role, coming near.
“I think voting will be at the top of the list next year,” Lawless said. “These maps don’t help Democrats, and voter suppression plus bad maps will secure seats (for Republicans).”
This Canadian Press report was first published on December 20, 2021.