Democrats Are Facing an Uphill Battle

The Democrats are on the retreat this election year. In a clear demonstration of the party’s lack of confidence in its prospects at the November midterms 29 House Democrats have announced that they will not run for re-election. Given the party’s razor-thin majorities, the falling popularity of Joe Biden, and the fact that the incumbent president’s party almost always suffers losses in midterm elections, it looks like the Democrats will be gutted if they don’t change course quickly.

Some prominent lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders, have publicly called for a change of strategy, saying the Democratic Party has “turned its back on the working class”. But the Biden administration continues to staunchly deny its failures, ranging from the death of the Build Back Better plan signed by Democrats to its doomed years of striving for federal electoral rights laws. The pandemic that Biden has vowed to tackle — his key campaign promise — has spiraled even further out of control. The number of Covid cases has reached record highs under his watch, reaching into the hundreds of thousands. Hospitals are overwhelmed and schools are still in crisis.

Monthly child tax credit payments that Democrats promised would cut child poverty in half are over. Biden has told people burdened with student debt to prepare for resuming their payments in May and debt relief is off the table. Other popular pandemic-related aid programs will also be discontinued. And the White House’s stance was to redouble its condescension and express its contempt for America’s working class, the very voters the Democrats were meant to woo.

At a briefing with reporters in December, White House press secretary Jen Psaki boasted that the US would soon require private insurance companies to reimburse customers who buy rapid home tests for Covid. When an NPR reporter asked why the United States didn’t send free rapid tests to everyone like other countries have, Psaki said mocked at the idea. “Should we just send one to every American?” she replied, visibly irritated. “How much is it?”

Life comes at you fast. It took about two weeks of public outcry for the government to reverse its position and announce that the federal government will send out half a billion free at-home tests to anyone who wants them. But the experience did not trigger any introspection.

About a month after Psaki’s comments, Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on NBC today and offered guidance for people struggling to find a place to get tested: “Google it.” And when a reporter recently asked about the government’s stalled agenda and whether it was time to reconsider its approach, Psaki gave another derisive response. “We could certainly propose legislation to see if people would support bunnies and ice cream, but that wouldn’t be very rewarding for the American people,” she said.

With just a few months left until the midterm elections, the White House’s political operation was unresponsive to Democratic campaigns. According to a CNN reportthe President and his political team have not offered much support to the Democrats, who are seeking re-election, and have not responded to “basic requests for help or information.”

Republicans only need to win five additional seats in November to gain control of the House of Representatives. In the Senate, which is split 50-50, Democrats have 14 seats to defend, including from states like Arizona and Georgia, where Biden won by a narrow margin. Republicans must hold 20 Senate seats and face potentially vicious primaries in states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Since the 2020 election, GOP lawmakers have enacted voting restrictions in states across the country. It’s that rush, combined with the already bleak electoral landscape, that recently prompted Democrats to make a final push for voting rights reform. But as their efforts fizzled out in the Senate, Biden accused Republicans of obstructing his agenda and stressed his own political impotence.

As a result of the administration’s successive failures, Biden’s support is crumbling among all Americans, including some of the most important groups in his base: Black and Hispanic voters and young people.

Some party leaders, like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, are still optimistic despite Biden’s approval ratings. “I think we will hold the majority in the fall,” Hoyer told reporters. “I know that’s contrary to what some people think.”

Democrats, Hoyer added, will have “a very solid agenda to move on from.”

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