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Further setbacks could cement voter disenchantment with Biden

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President Joe Biden likes to cite American resilience in his stump speeches, but disappointments regarding key campaign pledges may test voter patience in next year's midterm elections.

Negotiations over Biden's signature infrastructure, social welfare, and climate spending packages have ramped up before surface transportation funding expires and the president travels to Scotland for a United Nations environment summit next month. But if talks collapse like they did a couple of weeks ago, Biden's poll numbers may not recover as he grapples with other priorities, such as voting rights, before the 2022 cycle.


Biden's net negative job approval numbers are cementing, according to pollster David Paleologos. Disapproval of Biden outpaced his approval in the last seven national surveys, other than a CNN tie, Suffolk University Political Research Center's director told the Washington Examiner.

"You can only break that hardening with some added wins legislatively, or you have some major event that totally reshapes Biden's approval and the public's perception of Biden's approval," he said, employing Sept. 11 as a previous example.

Biden's problems are exacerbated by the economy, particularly so-called "stagflation," according to Paleologos. Stagflation refers to the confluence of stagnant economic growth and high inflation rates.

The White House this week touted "the accelerated pace" of social welfare and climate package discussions after lawmakers missed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Sept. 27 deadline. Pelosi promised centrist House Democrats a vote on Biden's $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, which the Senate passed last summer. But liberal members pulled their endorsement without an agreement with centrist senators concerning the now $2 trillion broader package.

"We are at a point where we feel an urgency to move things forward," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, repeating the phrase "economic growth agenda."

But to please Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, liberal policies will have to be stripped from the social welfare and climate package. That is likely to include Biden's $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would have aimed to hasten “the transition toward solar and wind power and slash[ing] greenhouse gas emissions."

Failing to broker a green substitute before the 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change's World Leader Summit in November may damage Biden's credibility on the issue, according to his own environment envoy John Kerry, but also depress turnout next year among voters who care about it.

"Unfortunately, it's almost a no-win scenario because he's expected to deliver those things," Paleologos said. "Not quite meeting the threshold of expectation with the actual end product suggests that you could have some leakage of support, you could have leakage of enthusiasm, and that potentially could impact the 2022 midterms."

And young and minority people, who disproportionately vote for Democrats, already cast fewer ballots during non-presidential elections.

Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright declined to describe delays with the social welfare and climate package as "setbacks." Instead, the process "ebbs and flows" and, while every Democrat will not be completely happy, the party will be proud of the end result, he contended.

"It's very important that we try to get something done before the 2022 midterms, so the sooner the better," he said. "There's an expectation for a lot of people for Democrats to deliver, so we actually have to deliver."

Seawright encouraged Democrats to promote the $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending package in the meantime. A Morning Consult/Politico poll this month found that less than half of respondents credit Democrats and less than 40% Biden for their more generous child tax credit.

Seawright similarly dismissed Republican opposition to election reform as defying common sense ahead of a doomed Senate vote this week on Manchin's compromise to the For the People Act. Republicans are poised to block the Freedom to Vote Act on Wednesday because Democrats do not have 60 senators in the chamber.

"The lack of urgency in Congress, in the Senate, among Republicans, in protecting people's fundamental right to vote is also frustrating to the president and to this administration," Psaki added Monday. "These are bipartisan proposals that have had bipartisan support. We're talking about people's fundamental rights."


Biden will fly to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Wednesday to drum up support for his proposals. The White House has provided scant details regarding his week, keeping his schedule open to speak with lawmakers about the bills.

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Tags: News, Biden, Biden Administration, White House, Joe Biden, Infrastructure, Voting rights

Original Author: Naomi Lim

Original Location: Further setbacks could cement voter disenchantment with Biden

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