US Midterm Elections in 2022: President Joe Biden has been ranting about the causes dragging down his approval ratings and the people he believes aren’t helping, particularly Democrats seeking his job despite his explicit vow to run for reelection, in private discussions in recent weeks.
He’s preparing for a bruising midterm campaign aimed at Republicans, as he tries to defend Democrats in the House and Senate, but also to set the stage for a reelection bid that will be launched by next spring.
According to a dozen people acquainted with the President and his inner circle, Biden is unhappy that the media aren’t calling out Republicans for, as he sees it, abandoning their beliefs in the quest for power.
He’s itching to take on the GOP before the November elections, but he’s concerned that doing so may jeopardize his last remaining hopes for bipartisan legislative victories.
He knows he’ll be blamed for people’s economic woes, so he spent as much time blaming “technical problems” as he did bashing congressional Republicans for their proposal to raise taxes on the middle class in his statement about the latest contraction in the US economy released on Thursday.
With his approval rating in the low 30s in some surveys and practically every Democratic strategist warning that the political environment is terrible — and many in the party still complaining that the White House’s political operation lacks sufficient strategy and energy — the President is out of options.
However, advisers and others who have spoken directly with Trump tell CNN that the country’s polarisation allows him to make a more effective contrast than in any previous midterm cycle, bolstered by the material they’re counting on from expected primary wins by Trump loyalists and other far-right candidates in May and June — as well as Republican opposition to Biden‘s last attempt at a domestic policy push in the ongoing congressional reconciliation process.
In private talks, the President has bemoaned how little attention has been paid to how horrible the country was under former President Donald Trump. As a result, his old catchphrase, “Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative,” has become a midterm rallying cry in the West Wing.
“Voters can readily agree the country isn’t where they wanted it to be,” one Biden aide argued, “but they also believe they don’t want to hand it off to Marjorie Taylor Greene in ‘22 and Trump in ’24.”
Another Biden advisor explained, “Part of the benefit of contrast in any midterm is to try to push voters to think about this as a decision, rather than making it a referendum.” “That’s best done from the top — it’s difficult to deploy candidates across the country even if they’re all singing from the same hymnbook if the President isn’t driving it.”
The current political climate has Biden’s inner circle looking for hope abroad, with French President Emmanuel Macron‘s reelection victory over a far-right repeat opponent last weekend validating the belief among Biden’s inner circle that he can limit the damage this year by going hard on Republicans.
Experts who are more familiar with French politics were not influenced by a tweet from White House chief of staff Ron Klain following the Macron results, which stated that the French President had an approval rate equivalent to Biden’s and had won a large victory.
They claim that while the binary choice favored Macron, his approval rating is actually high by French standards, and Biden’s is poor by American standards.
According to the White House, the work isn’t solely on Biden and his crew. People close to the President say he’s amused, if not irritated, by his own party’s impatient ambitions, which he perceives as pushing him out the door.
They urge Democrats to concentrate on the party’s interests in the midterm elections rather than their own desires in the future.
The newest eye-rolls in the West Wing came from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Last week, White House aides were irritated by her New York Times op-ed, which bemoaned “a stalled Biden agenda” and “our failure to get important things done.”
Several of them believed she should have used her position to highlight Biden’s accomplishments. Instead, they watched as she appeared on Sunday news networks to discuss her personal wish list and to be asked if she will run for president again in 2024.
She responded by stressing that Biden is running for president and that she supports him, but the White House would prefer that the discourse focus on the Republican Party’s Trumpism.
At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night, some of that emotion is likely to be camouflaged as humor. Biden’s tried-and-true “Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative” and “This is not your father’s Republican Party” lines have already been updated.
At a pair of West Coast fundraisers this week, he declared, “This is the MAGA party.”
On Thursday, in response to the poor gross domestic product data that reflect additional economic hardship under his watch, Biden said obstructionist Republicans were to blame, citing again the hard-right agenda of Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the Senate Republicans’ campaign chairman.
“We’re in a situation where we have a completely different perspective than Senator Scott and Republicans, who want to raise taxes on middle-class families and include half of the small business owners,” Biden added.
“If our Republican friends are truly concerned about economic growth, they should continue to help us reduce the deficit; they should be willing to work with us to create a tax code that works and ensures that everyone pays their fair share; and they should be in a position where we shouldn’t be raising taxes on middle-class people, but rather on people who everyone acknowledges aren’t paying their fair share.”