Cracks are beginning to form in President Biden’s support among Senate Democrats, who are increasingly less optimistic about his bid for re-election in 2024 after recent polls showed most Democratic voters want a nominee. different in two years.
Senate Democrats say Biden’s unpopularity is one of their biggest challenges heading into the midterm elections and are concerned about data showing that young Democratic voters, who must run in many to win, are particularly unenthusiastic about the 79-year-old president. .
The relatively cautious and pragmatic members of the Senate Democratic Caucus represent the upper ranks of the party establishment. They were careful not to criticize Biden for months of an underwhelming deadlock on his signature legislative agenda, the Build Back Better framework focused on climate change and social spending.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) urged his colleagues to remain united and positive throughout the negotiations and to avoid criticizing Biden or centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), which on Thursday again dealt a blow to the measure.
But the growing disaffection of Democratic voters with the president and the direction of the country is becoming impossible to ignore.
A growing number of senators are not pledging to support Biden in 2024 no matter what — although they don’t want to speak publicly on the matter.
A Democratic senator who requested anonymity pointed to a recent New York Times-Siena College poll showing that 94% of Democrats under 30 would prefer another Democrat as the party’s flag bearer in 2024.
“It shows that there is a strong reservoir of sentiment to usher in a change of administration,” said the lawmaker, who said the midterm election results would be affected by Biden’s low approval rating.
The senator said “I think we have a chance” of retaining the Senate majority, an optimistic view shared by many Senate Democrats, but warned that Biden will weigh in on Democratic candidates and predicted that young stars rising will start jockeying for the party nomination from 2023.
“I think after the mid-terms we’re going to see a number of young people saying we want to be part of that conversation, and I don’t think you’ll see complete dominance of the primary like you normally see for a starter. who is in a strong position,” the senator said.
One such young rising star is California Governor Gavin Newsom, who circled Democratic senators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, further fueling speculation about his presidential ambitions.
Newsom, 54, was careful not to criticize Biden’s age or his inability to get things done in Washington, but he identified what he sees as an inability of Democratic leaders in the White House and Congress. to get their message across effectively.
He said political leadership is shifting to states such as California that are unfettered by the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to pass major legislation.
Newsom said he was proud of the work Biden has done, but added “one of our challenges” is communicating effectively with young voters.
“We are unable to even communicate the basics effectively,” he said. “There are so many things that are being done, that have been done. Nobody believes it, nobody knows it, and that’s a frustration that I basically have.
“That’s one of my criticisms of the Democratic Party, basically, it’s our failure to communicate a positive alternative agenda, to set the tone and tenor of the agenda. [instead] to be constantly on the defensive,” he said.
Newsom said he doesn’t think Biden’s age is the problem, despite polling data showing that 33% of Democratic primary voters who want a new candidate in 2024 think Biden is too old to run for a second term. .
“I’m with Bobby Kennedy. What the world needs are the qualities of youth, not a period of life,” he said. “I think we’re so obsessed with your date of manufacture as opposed to your quality of imagination.”
Senate Democrats have complained for months about their inefficiency in informing voters of their accomplishments in the 117th Congress.
Of course, it’s not lost on them that Biden has the pulpit of bullying and as president is his party’s chief communicator.
Senate Democrats don’t want to publicly question Biden’s viability as a 2024 nominee, but privately they’re holding off on endorsing another term in the White House until they see how the half-terms take place.
“You have to ask me after 2022,” said another senator.
The senator said Biden’s numbers and high inflation were “tough” on Democratic candidates this year, but argued that Republicans had failed to recruit top candidates in New Hampshire, the Missouri and Arizona, giving Democrats a better chance of winning races in those states.
The senator said the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down abortion rights, “injected a whole different dynamic into it” by boosting Democratic voters ahead of November.
A third Democratic senator wouldn’t even broach the subject of Biden’s political viability, telling The Hill, “I’m not going to do politics.
A fourth Democratic senator said Biden’s strongest attribute heading into 2024 was his record of beating Trump in a head-to-head election. Polls showing him leading the former president in another hypothetical game.
The New York Times-Siena College poll that showed 64% of Democratic voters want someone other than Biden to be the nominee in 2024 also showed him beating Trump by 44% to 41%.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), whose name has been floated as a potential presidential candidate, said if Democrats can push prescription drug reform through the budget reconciliation process as well as a legislation aimed at improving U.S. competitiveness with China, Biden’s numbers will likely tick.
He said “people are unhappy”.
“They don’t like Trump, they don’t like Biden, they don’t like politicians in general right now. People are in a bad mood because of a lot of things that are beyond the president’s control. Inflation is mostly about the pandemic and the corporate CEOs taking advantage of it,” he said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) said younger Democratic voters, who polls show are unhappy with Biden, are understandably frustrated with Washington’s inability to address climate change.
“I think young voters have every reason to be impatient with Congress in general and I think we still have a lot of work to do on climate, and that includes taking a much more aggressive stance against the climate denial operation that the fossil fuel industry continues. to fund and maintain,” he said.
When asked if Biden should show more leadership in the fight against climate change denial, Whitehouse said, “I’m not going to be a critic on that right now.”
#Cracks #forming #Bidens #Senate #Democratic #base