AMAC Exclusive – By Barry Casselman
President Joe Biden spent most of the 2020 presidential campaign in the basement of his Delaware home — out of sight and sound. While an unorthodox strategy, it worked well in the toxic political atmosphere of that cycle in which the pandemic dominated the discourse. Biden was visibly old and unsteady, and the incumbent president was all too controversially visible and under attack by a hostile establishment media determined to aid and abet his defeat at the polls.
On taking office in January 2021, Mr. Biden inevitably had to become more visible. But a combination of unpopular policy actions and statements, and his less-than-dynamic appearances, caused his approval ratings to sink rapidly until recently his positives fell into the mid-30s. He and his administration became a major stumbling block to the Democratic Party’s prospects in the upcoming 2022 national midterm elections.
Following a highly visible but unproductive recent visit to the Middle East, President Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and was understandably isolated in the White House. After recuperating, he had a recurrence of the virus attributed to the medication he received. Now recovered, he has been seldom seen or heard except through his press secretary and various spokespersons who have communicated presidential actions and statements.
Not surprisingly, Biden’s poll numbers have inched up from the mid-30s to the low 40s— although his negatives have more or less remained above 55%. This circumstance cannot have been lost on those around the president, nor its clear implication that the less Joe Biden is seen and heard, the better he is regarded by the public — and the less damage he does to Democrats in their midterm election campaign.
Thus, the invisible candidate became the invisible president.
Interestingly, the one poll which has recently shown Biden’s net favorable poll negatives in only single digits has been the Rasmussen Poll which in 2016, 2018, and 2020 — along with the Trafalgar Poll — was among the very few who got it right. Both Rasmussen and Trafalgar use unorthodox polling methods, often denigrated by the polling establishment, but which have been notably more accurate than most of the establishment polls which until lately minimized Biden’s negatives routinely.
A very recent development was the apparent decision by many Democratic leaders and strategists to jettison the prospect of Mr. Biden seeking a second term. Suddenly, negative articles and polls on Biden appeared in the Democrats’ media venues, and it was widely reported that many Democrats thought it inevitable that the president would not run again.
The dilemma now for those Democratic strategists, however, is not to give the public the impression that President Biden’s approval or standing is so restored that he is encouraged to run for a second term. On the other hand, believing they are surging, they are expected to send their sitting president to campaign for Democratic candidates in close races.
Risking his recent bump up in the polls, the White House announced that Mr. Biden would begin a national mid-term campaign tour in Maryland. Wearing aviator sunglasses, the President tried out a “top gun” image to counteract his chronic image of being too old and unsteady.
Putting President Biden out on the campaign trail, making speeches, and appearing on TV, also renews the risk of further nationalizing the mid-term elections — which, because of the current economic and other domestic problems, likely helps Republican candidates.
So far, it should be noted that the GOP has not put forward a legislative plan as they did with “The Contract with America” in 1994, which was then very successful in enabling GOP candidates to win a historic election with a national wave.
As many observers have recently said, a forecasted red voter tsunami is not inevitable in November, especially if the Republicans fail to inspire and encourage their own voter base, independents, and dissatisfied Democrats to show up at the polls.
Democrats seem to be unintentionally helping by neglecting the Texas border, cutting off energy resources, raising taxes and government spending, increasing the national debt, and raiding a former president’s home — and now putting their own “invisible” president back on display.
But all their media horses and all their polling men won’t put Democratic majorities back together again if Republicans do what is necessary to bring their wave in from the political sea.
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