Electoral indicators, both historic and contemporary, point to a defeat for President Joe Biden’s congressional colleagues in the November midterm elections. Portents for 2024 offer little comfort to either the commander-in-chief or his vice president. According to insiders in politics and the media, this administration is treading water until the fateful blows land. But has news of the Democrat demise been greatly exaggerated?
No Single Solution
New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait argued that Joe Biden’s worries go far beyond his failure to bring Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to heel and stated bluntly that the window of opportunity for an “FDR-size domestic-reform agenda” was closed. He wrote:
“At the same time, by realistic or even minimal standards of performance, this two-year term, almost certain to be the last period of Democratic-controlled government for the foreseeable future, has been a failure … The ramifications of this defeat — political, economic, and ecological — will reverberate.”
While a significant number of Democrats and Democrat allies are seeking to paint the picture of a single truculent senator being responsible for legislative and electoral woes, Chait avers that “Manchin is merely the most prominent author of a catastrophe that has a thousand fathers.”
Noted journalist Glenn Greenwald posited that much of the party friction comes not from outside forces but from within the Democrat hierarchy. “There’s clearly a concerted effort not from Republicans but from Democrats to undermine Joe Biden. And obviously, it’s because they fear that he is going to try and run again.”
Recent polling suggests that 64% of Democrat voters do not want Biden to try for a second term, although, shockingly, 92% said they would vote for him if he did.
Democrat Demise By the Numbers
The latest Fox News generic congressional polling gives the GOP a three-point lead (44%) over Dems (41%) in terms of which party the respondees will vote for during the upcoming November midterms. This number is within the margin of error but echoes the results of a Rasmussen poll that handed Republicans an eight-point advantage on the generic ballot question.
Biden’s job approval rating is now almost 18 points underwater, which is three points lower than former President Donald Trump in the same period. Coupled with the public’s general disdain for Congress as a whole and the nationwide disapproval of Vice President Kamala Harris, there are few positive numbers for Democrats.
As for the betting markets, the gamblers are putting their money on Biden being the nominee in 2024 but losing the election to either Donald Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. With the two GOPers coming in at three to one, it is notable that Biden, on five to one, comes third in a two-man horse race.
Still Not A Slam Dunk
The winds of change appear to favor Republicans in both November and the 2024 presidential election, but it might not be the easy win pundits are predicting. If the economic ship rights itself before Americans go to the polls, the administration can claim – with some credibility – that Biden’s policies took a while to kick in due to the once-in-a-generation pandemic.
Without a competent messaging strategy and the ever-elusive party unity so sorely missing from the Democrat side, Republicans – despite the abundant gifts of circumstance before them – may still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.