The hardest part lately of writing about how grim the Democrats’ midterm prospects have become is finding a way to express it that hasn’t been used already. “Dempocalypse” is off the board. So is “biblical disaster.” Put “ass-kicking” on ice as well.
How about “electoral diarrhea”? Does that adequately capture how ugly this is apt to be?
Mark Penn, who used to be chief pollster for Hillary Clinton, was on Fox News a few days ago surveying the outlook for Democrats. He offered a new phrase: “Virtual impossibility.” As in, it’s a virtual impossibility that Biden can be reelected in 2024 if something doesn’t change dramatically.
Biden’s approval with Independents is 26 percent and just a paltry three percent of Republicans say he is doing a good job.
‘These are spectacularly low numbers,’ said Mark Penn, the founder of PSB Insights and a former Hillary Clinton campaign pollster.
‘To really get down to it, only a third being favorable and in the 20s on independents, of course makes [Biden’s] reelection a virtual impossibility.
‘The administration has got to pivot or this is going to be a tornado of a midterms if these numbers continue to hold up,’ Penn said Thursday during an appearance on Fox News.
There’s no mystery what the chief culprit is. For 40 years, America managed to avoid a sustained period of high inflation. Our lucky streak recently came to an end, giving political junkies a real-time lesson on whether inflation might be as politically poisonous to the ruling party now as it was in Jimmy Carter’s day. The answer, pretty clearly, is yes.
In fact, Kevin McCarthy’s chief anxiety lately isn’t whether Republicans will take back the House this fall. It’s whether there’ll be enough moderates in the new majority to actually pass necessary legislation or whether the caucus will be dominated by Marjorie-Taylor-Greene-style populist grifters who want to obstruct everything except the occasional grandstanding culture-war bill that has no chance of clearing the Senate.
CNN’s Harry Enten was on this morning to apprise viewers of the state of Biden’s numbers. Remember how we used to gawk at how unpopular Trump was, he asked? Well…
CNN reports that Biden’s approval rating is the lowest of any president at this point in his presidency:
“This is a really, really, really bad number.” pic.twitter.com/MGZkKMlh2L
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 15, 2022
The math checks out. If anything, Enten lowballed the gap between Trump and Biden. Today Sleepy Joe is at 40.6 percent approval at RCP; four years ago yesterday, Trump stood at 42.8 percent, a spread of more than two points. The only silver lining for Biden is that his approval was slightly lower back in February, which means he’s not presently at rock bottom. And he’s never been as low as Trump was during his worst period at the end of 2017, when he hit 37.2 percent.
But give it time. To the horror of Democratic candidates everywhere, Biden’s about to foist another political disaster on his party as it sags under the weight of inflation:
President Biden is facing a growing mutiny from Democratic candidates — including five vulnerable senators — who are questioning his administration’s decision to lift a pandemic health order that has drastically curtailed migrants’ ability to seek asylum at the southern border…
The backlash has repercussions that reach beyond the campaign trail. Already it has complicated the Biden administration’s request for billions of dollars in additional pandemic funding to pay for more doses of vaccine and therapeutic drugs. After congressional negotiators struck a tentative $10 billion deal earlier this month, the agreement fell apart when Senate Republicans insisted on an amendment vote that could keep Title 42 in place.
According to Senate aides, at least a half-dozen Democrats were at risk of joining Republicans on such a vote — in what would have been an embarrassing setback to Biden and a stinging defeat to immigrant activists who had pushed him for months to restore the asylum system to some semblance of its pre-pandemic state.
It can’t be stressed enough that it’s not just centrist Democrats who are jittery about lifting Title 42 and triggering a massive rush for the border. Raphael Warnock is also against the idea. So is Mandela Barnes, the progressive star running in Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary. Imagine trying to win as a Dem this fall in an organically pro-Republican environment with the millstone of inflation around your neck — and finding Biden ready to throw you an anchor in the form of an open-borders catastrophe on top of it.
Modern political conventional wisdom has it that true tsunami elections like we saw in 2010, when the GOP picked up 60+ seats, are impossible nowadays due to heavy gerrymandering. Simply put, too many districts are either indigo blue or blood red for the other party to flip so many. A 30- or 40-seat pick-up is supposed to be the upper bound realistically.
But if Biden goes ahead with this Title 42 insanity, we’ll just see about that.
I’ll leave you with a little more from Enten. Biden’s top three problems at the moment: Inflation, inflation, and inflation.
CNN reports on Biden’s job approval:
“Joe Biden at this point – minus 23 points – that is the worst on record since they started asking about economic job approval ratings.” pic.twitter.com/qnlTQuCfNf
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 15, 2022