AMAC Exclusive – By Barry Casselman
We are now at the stage of the political cycle when, as often happens in the words of the old aphorism, “things are not what they seem.”
What seems to be a pause, or even a little reversal, of the precipitous decline in voter favorability for President Joe Biden, his administration, and Democrats up for election in November, is more likely a mirage born of hype, wishful thinking, and momentary phenomena.
There is considerable emotional motivation for desperate Democrats and anxious Republicans to embrace or fear this mirage as the prospect of a political “red wave” had seemed on all sides to be increasingly inevitable.
Although gasoline prices have declined a bit, they are still high. Although unemployment is still relatively low, inflation is continuing steadily and productivity is down. The stock market is now in “bear” territory and most Americans have therefore seen their net worth via their IRAs and pension funds decline. Recent small rallies do not make a “bull” market. And hopes to avoid a recession or any economic downturn have been, and continue to be, dashed by the fiscal policies and actions of the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, such as raising taxes, issuing more regulations, restricting energy production, and heavier government deficit spending — all of which work against economic growth and recovery. Big businesses are not hurting as much as small businesses, many of which have closed or face closure. There are now millions of unhappy small business owners.
After having been mostly out of sight due to a bout with COVID-19, some polls show a small rise recently in Mr. Biden’s numbers, and some vulnerable Democrat candidates have seen their poll numbers improve as well, but the basic dissatisfaction of voters, especially Republicans, independents, and ethnic and working class voters – many of whom had previously voted Democrat – remains strong.
Democrats’ hopes were initially lifted when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe vs. Wade — thinking that pro-choice women would forget their economic dissatisfaction in November and rush to the polls on the Democrat side. A recent Kansas ballot vote preventing the state legislature from abolishing abortion rights was ballyhooed as evidence of this. But the Kansas vote only demonstrates the fact that the Supreme Court did not abolish abortion rights, but turned the issue back to the individual states. Ardent pro-choice voters usually turn out in all elections, as do ardent pro-lifers. Polling continues to indicate many other voters hold economic concerns higher than social issues.
The raid on former President Trump’s Florida home by the FBI, even if there is a technical justification, has been a public relations disaster. Denied a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland seems willing to participate in the not-so-secret effort by his party to push Mr. Trump out of the way through criminal indictment — in a manner that even many anti-Trump Republicans and even some Democrats have deplored.
Having finally passed a major government spending bill, Democrats assert a big victory for President Biden and his administration, and assume it will invigorate voters to go to the polls for their candidates in November. But the legislation, despite its misleading title, is likely ultimately very inflationary, and some of its parts, such as hiring more than 80,000 additional IRS agents, are not likely to be cheered by most voters. The valid need to improve the IRS, now far behind in processing tax returns, was clearly there, but Democrats, as is often the case, overdid the creation of new bureaucrats, transforming a legitimate idea into a political loser. Like the Democrat passage of Obamacare a decade ago, a seeming legislative achievement could boomerang at the polls.
As former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently pointed out, a large GOP tide or tsunami is not yet inevitable.
Donald Trump’s impact, positive or negative, on the election is not yet clear.
But the political mirages so far appearing in August, and Democrats’ wishful thinking arising from them, do not yet negate or stop the powerful wave now still forming in the sea some distance from the November shore.
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