As the 2020 midterm election approaches, the Democratic Party is facing headwinds that threaten to leave the Party in the minority for the remainder of President Biden’s term. Biden himself is suffering inexplicably low approval ratings in most recent polls.
Sure, there are notable difficulties that are impacting the mood of the American people. Economic issues such as inflation and gas prices weigh on the minds of voters. But those are not matters that the President – any president – has control over. In fact, inflation and gas prices are high around the world. Which is proof that Biden, who isn’t president of any of those other countries, isn’t to blame. Not that that will stop Fox News from blaming him anyway.
Speaking of the world, the war in Ukraine casts a pall on U.S. foreign affairs. Tensions flair as refugees seek safety from the unprovoked assault by Russia. Add to this the high anxiety of the political divisions exacerbated by the knee-jerk partisanship and obstructionism of the Republican Party and the purposeful hostility manufactured by Donald Trump and his cult disciples. But again, those troubles aren’t Biden’s fault either.
So why is Biden polling so badly? And why are congressional Democrats at risk of losing seats in Congress? By all accounts the only explanation is that it’s a messaging problem. Despite the negatives addressed above, there are an abundance of positives that could be highlighted to raise the prospects for Democrats, including record economic growth growth, job creation, and progress on climate change, healthcare, and combatting COVID. Unfortunately, that message isn’t getting out very effectively. And, of course, Fox News and other right-wing media are deliberately suppressing it.
Which brings us to MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan. On his weekend program Hasan helpfully provided a concise compilation of reasons that the American people should be more appreciative of the work that Biden and Democrats are doing on their behalf. It went something like this (video below)…
“Over the past sixteen months since Joe Biden entered the White House and Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress, Republicans in the House of Representatives have opposed dozens and dozens of common sense, and often very popular, Democratic Party bills. Let me mention just some of them…”
- Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act.
- Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
- Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act.
- Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act.
- Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Business Act.
- Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act.
- The Affordable Insulin Now Act.
- Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act.
- America Competes Act.
- Build Back Better Act.
- Women’s Health Protection Act.
- John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
- Bipartisan Background Checks Act.
- American Rescue Plan Act.
- Equality Act.
In just 60 seconds, I listed the dozens of common-sense, hugely-popular Democratic bills that House Republicans have voted against: from baby formula money to free hearing aids to background checks to $1400 checks to many more.
“The vast majority of House Republicans in their nihilism and denialism voted against each and every one of those hugely popular bills. So maybe, just maybe House Democrats, and not me on cable, should be pointing all this out.”
Biden has recently made more of an effort to articulate the accomplishments of his administration. But there doesn’t seem to be any coordinated effort on the part of Democrats to accentuate the positive. And the media isn’t helping by focusing almost exclusively on the downside. They, of course, are not obligated to cheerlead for Democrats. But they do have an obligation to be fair. And fairness demands some recognition of the good works that Democrats have and are engaging in.
The House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection will begin holding public hearings soon. That’s an important development to expose the sedition and corruption of the GOP and Fox News, where lying about the Capitol riots continues unabated. But there must be a positive case for voting Democratic as well. And hopefully the politicians and pundits will devote more time and effort to that endeavor, for the sake of the edification of voters, and for democracy itself.
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