Will Biden and the Dems in Congress heed Tuesday's wakeup call? Evidence says not yet.
By Gary Abernathy
If they’re listening, no one could miss the message
Virginia’s gubernatorial election in which Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin defeated Democratic candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe sent a message that many (including yours truly) have been repeating for nearly a year: Voters did not elect Joe Biden to engage in a socialist-style spending spree using trillions of dollars that don’t exist.
My post-election Washington Post piece again makes this point:
Exit polling also found that slightly more Virginians said they voted to oppose Biden than to support him. If Democrats are wise enough to engage in some deep introspection about their future following Tuesday’s results, they might ask Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) to lead the discussion, while sending Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) out for sandwiches.
Sadly, most Democrats seem to be missing — or intentionally ignoring — the message sent Tuesday night in Virginia and elsewhere. The Washington Post reports that Democratic strategists think they need to improve their economic message and appeal more to young voters. Appealing to young voters is something they’ve claimed to do for decades, with no real evidence of its effectiveness.
The story says:
But the first two points rely on speeding up Biden’s agenda, which has been captive to an ideological struggle between the party’s liberal and moderate wings, top Democrats said. Democratic strategists and officials said his as-yet-unfulfilled plans to enact sweeping new investments in infrastructure and the social safety net dragged down McAuliffe with working-class voters, including women, and his inability to shepherd legislation on voting rights and police reform diminished enthusiasm among young voters and voters of color.
Speeding up Biden’s agenda? Are they familiar with the definition of insanity? What Biden and his allies need to do is pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill — the country’s roads, bridges, airports and other things desperately need it — and take a pass on the so-called “Build Back Better” proposal, even if the far-left democratic socialists throw a fit.
As usual, Democrat officials seem to think that the key to victory is pandering to as many special interest groups as they can identify, rather than standing for some broad principles that appeal to people from all walks of life.
I also had a new Post column just a couple of days before the election, making the point that President Biden’s blunders are keeping Donald Trump in the game as a viable candidate for 2024. I noted:
For most voters, the 2020 election was not about policy promises. It was a referendum on Trump. To present an alternative palatable to the largest pool of voters, Democrats settled on their most inoffensive candidate. During the campaign, Biden promised support for parts of the far-left agenda, but voters understood he had to pay lip service to that wing. They didn’t elect Biden to do big, historic things. They elected him to restore a sense of calm…
…Shortly after taking office, momentum may have been with Biden to go bigger than expected. But that’s when voters thought his vaunted skills and experience would be in evidence. Instead, gas prices are skyrocketing, inflation is climbing, the supply chain is in shambles, the southern border is a mess, and covid-19 remains a threat. The Afghanistan pullout was disastrous, the fatal drone strike on an innocent Afghan family was appallingly incompetent, and France took the unprecedented step of temporarily recalling its U.S. ambassador over a mishandled submarine deal.
Biden supporters say that his “Build Back Better” program contains items that all poll as very popular with Americans. Guess what? If you do a poll on ice cream, you’ll find that ice cream is popular with Americans. That doesn’t mean most Americans support spending trillions of dollars that don’t exist to give everyone free ice cream.
I had a chance to discuss these issues Wednesday morning with Hoppy Kercheval on his “Talkline” show on WVMetroNews.
Tuesday should have been a wakeup call for Democrats, considering Youngkin’s victory, along with Republican wins for lieutenant governor and attorney general, and the GOP likely taking control of Virginia’s House of Delegates.
The GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, Winsome Sears, is the first African American woman to win statewide office in Virginia. All the major media outlets will be falling over themselves to do profiles of her, right? Well, not so far — wrong party affiliation.
The fact that New Jersey’s race for governor between incumbent Democrat Philip D. Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli remains too close to call as of this writing is an even bigger surprise than what happened in Virginia.
The New York Times reports that after the GOP candidate enjoyed a lead, the picture changed after more votes were counted:
But Mr. Ciattarelli’s once significant lead had evaporated as results trickled in from Democratic strongholds, especially those in northern New Jersey like Essex County, which includes Newark. With 88 percent of the expected vote counted, Mr. Murphy led by 1,408 votes as of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, according to tallies reported by The Associated Press.
In Minneapolis, a ballot initiative to disband the police department in favor of a “Department of Public Safety” went down to a resounding defeat, thank goodness. Hopefully, that ends the crazy talk — and that’s what it is — of disbanding the police. Many police departments need to do much more to weed out elements of heavy-handed and sometimes racist approaches to policing. But disbanding the departments is just nuts.
A lot of things that are just nuts have been presented recently as subjects that people should take seriously, or feel guilty about if they don’t. With any luck, Tuesday’s election results will be seen as a significant public blowback to extremist “woke culture” and the notion that Americans are happy about the country careening from capitalism into socialism.
Naturally, many in the media are complaining about a “white backlash” leading to Tuesday’s pro-Republican results. If they can emerge from that bit of self-deception, maybe they can start to identify the issues that Americans actually care about and offer some viable alternatives.
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