AMAC Exclusive – By Barry Casselman
The new year has brought a sudden shift in the so-called mainstream punditry as they reluctantly realize that the ship of the Biden administration has plowed into an avoidable political iceberg, and is sinking fast.
The first anniversary of the Democrats re-taking power in D.C. produced few celebrations, as the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer agenda, transplanted from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the “Squad” is being rejected by the body politic, as evidenced by a steady stream of polls and results of the off-year 2021 elections.
At the outset of the campaign discussion in mid-2021, there was a general agreement, for example, that each party had four vulnerable incumbent senate seats, and that control of the U.S. Senate in 2022 was up in the air. Democrats were even encouraged by five retiring GOP senators.
Now there is a shift in the discussion as pundits and pollsters are suggesting that Republicans might not lose any senate seats, and that the four vulnerable Democrats are in more trouble than before — being dragged down by the unpopular Biden and his progressive policy agenda.
A recent Gallup poll indicates a dramatic shift in voter party identification in only one year. A clear lead for the Democrats at the beginning of 2021 has become a clear lead for Republicans by the end of 2021, amounting to a staggering 14-point swing toward the GOP.
Other polls are indicating President Biden with significantly less than 50% voter approval, with many surveys finding his approval rating only in the 30s, and still falling. Voter sentiment, many generic polls say, has the GOP ahead for the Congress.
Still another signal of massive voter shift is the entry of numerous credible Republican candidates in likely competitive races for governor and legislative seats, while Democrats lag in attracting candidates, and are seeing very large numbers of U.S. House retirees.
Now that Democratic Senators Manchin (West Virginia) and Sinema (Arizona) have stood their ground in preventing passage of radical and unpopular Biden-Pelosi-Schumer legislation, and enhanced their own political standing by doing so, it would seem likely that other more moderate senators, especially those facing re-election this year, will turn away from advocating policies that turn voters off in their states. But the more that Mr. Schumer pressures his party’s senators to cast votes, such as in this month’s filibuster debacle, the more ammunition it gives GOP challengers against Democratic incumbents in November.
It isn’t just polling that gives Democrats warning about the upcoming mid-term elections. Voters in the off-year 2021 elections sent an unambiguous message that certain prominent Democratic issues, especially at the local and state level, were unacceptable, including defunding the police, dismissal of parental concerns about education, failure to prosecute criminals, and the handling of pandemic issues. Even in very progressive urban areas such as New York City, San Francisco, and Minneapolis there was backlash, and more moderate, or newly moderate, Democrats were rewarded by voters.
Last year’s statewide election in Virginia can be seen as a turning point. Virginia has been a blue state in recent years, including presidential elections. A former Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, with very high name recognition was their 2021 gubernatorial nominee, and favored to win over an unknown conservative businessman who had not previously held elective office. President Biden said parents’ concerns about education were not important, a theme echoed by the McAuliffe, campaign, and produced a grassroots backlash that contributed heavily to the GOP sweep of statewide Virginia offices. New GOP Governor Youngkin, immediately on taking office, began initiating education reforms that might well resonate in other state elections in 2022.
Of course, sudden voter shifts can go both ways, but unless the Biden administration can figure out how to stop and reverse the burgeoning inflation crisis, the results in November will bring no celebrations in the White House or in offices held by Democrats in the Capitol building down Pennsylvania Avenue.
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