If Republicans could have picked the exact time they would choose to face the voters in the year before a presidential election, they might have chosen today, Nov. 7, which happens to be Election Day 2023, lest you failed to notice.
After all, almost any political candidate seeking to oust the party in power would love to run with the backdrop of a collapsing presidency — affirmed by no less than The New York Times’ own polling; shockingly widespread anti-Israeli protests by tens of thousands on the streets of America — many calling for President Joe Biden’s head; a prominent elected Democrat openly accusing him of supporting genocide; and cowardly academia and elected leftists refusing to act as Jews are openly targeted. All this on top of food and gas prices rising afresh, a southern border so porous and dangerous that even Democrats have noticed, and rampant crime hollowing out our greatest cities.
Indeed, it looks like a good year to be running for office as a Republican. While there is something to be said for the famous assertion of the late Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr., that all politics is local, national issues — especially war and the economy — always trickle down to the state and local level. If the president is unpopular, you can expect it to show down ballot, even way down — perhaps not in the vote for the proverbial dog-catcher but certainly in legislative bodies sitting closest to the voters, the kind often on the ballot in off-year elections.
The New York Times as Biden’s Grim Reaper?
It must have been painful for The Times to serve as the grim reaper for Biden with their survey containing virtually zero good news for the incumbent — the man for whom they sacrificed their journalistic integrity in order to get him elected. And if there was a single phrase to describe the results, it might be “outside the margin of error” — referring to growing Trump leads in multiple battleground states. Donald Trump leads by 6% in Georgia and by 5% in Michigan and Arizona — the three states that put Biden over the top in 2020 — and leads Biden by 4% in Pennsylvania. But the biggest bombshell of all comes from Nevada, captured by both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 but now favoring Trump by a whopping 11 points.
As writer Nate Cohn lamented in the Gray Lady, “The deterioration in Mr. Biden’s standing is broad, spanning virtually every demographic group, yet it yields an especially deep blow to his electoral support among young, Black and Hispanic voters, with Mr. Trump obtaining previously unimaginable levels of support with them.” Indeed, non-white voters under 45 who supported Biden over Trump in 2020 by a margin of 39% now favor him by just 6%. That is what could rightly be termed a cataclysmic descent — and promises to get no better with two wars, a thoroughly dissatisfied electorate, and, of course, a cognitive decline that will only get worse. White voters under 45 who favored Biden by 5% in 2020 now prefer Trump by a margin of 8%. And the electoral toxicity of Biden is further underscored by how the poll concludes he would do against Trump, a loss by 5% — compared to an unnamed generic Democrat, who would beat Trump by 8%.
Election Day 2023 — Biden Is Lucky It’s Not 2024
Meanwhile, roughly half the country votes today in local and state elections on everything from governors to school boards to ballot issues. But it may be legislative races in Virginia that prove to be the most revealing — not necessarily about the 2024 election but about the future of a rising star in the Republican constellation. Gov. Glenn Youngkin has invested a good deal of his abundant political capital — approval as high as 57% in the purple state, according to a July poll by Morning Consult — in trying to secure a GOP majority in the state senate. Needing to pick up three seats in the 40-seat body to gain control, setting the bar so high and associating himself so closely with the effort is a bold risk. If he fails, he will inevitably be tagged as an overrated failure by leftists rightfully fearful of his ascent. But if he succeeds, he could seriously burnish his already impressive credentials for a run at the White House — maybe in 2024, definitely in 2028.
We now likely have reached the point where the growing perception of Biden’s sunken popularity is by itself contributing to his decline. And it certainly didn’t help that David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama, stated in very thinly veiled terms in a post on X that Biden will lose next November if he insists on continuing to seek re-election and further suggested that the incumbent is selfish — running for himself, not his party. When you lose Axelrod, they might say on the left, you are in serious trouble. Perhaps the only positive for Biden is that all this is happening during an off-year election with just a few significant races scattered across the landscape, instead of during the height of a presidential election campaign when Democrats could entirely lose their grip on power.