When President Biden attended the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, he was captured on television. seems dormant while listening to speeches – a reminder of how tiring traveling abroad can be.
But if he was hoping for a reprieve after returning to the White House on Wednesday, he will be disappointed. Biden’s wait is a storm of political challenges that threaten his Capitol Hill agenda and have given Democrats spasms of fear about their prospects in the upcoming midterm elections.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, was defeated in a state his party considered safe. In Tuesday’s election, he lagged behind Republican Glenn Youngkin by just over two percentage points. Priorities US, leading Democratic supercomputer PAC, called the result “a warning to all Democrats.”
The party found no solace in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy was locked in a much tougher race than expected with Republican opponent Jack Chiattarelli. The two candidates were almost equally divided as the vote count continued until late at night.
The Virginia campaign, in particular, has been seen as a frontrunner as lawmakers escalate topics for the upcoming midterm elections and consider Biden’s trillion-dollar proposals on Capitol Hill. Not only has Yangkin flexed his muscles in conservative rural districts, but also made significant gains among suburban voters who have played a key role in the recent success of Democrats in the state.
“It wasn’t supposed to be such a close race,” said Mark Rosell, dean of the School of Politics and Public Administration. Charles University of George Mason. “Democrats were supposed to win easily in an increasingly gay state.”
McAuliffe, a former governor and pro-democracy advocate, has worked hard to link Yangkin to former President Trump in hopes of boosting turnout among his supporters. But even with high turnout, Democrats were unable to prevent Yangkin from winning, suggesting the strategy might not work for the same demographic that provided critical Democratic support last year.
“Yangkin’s victory over these college-educated white voters who are skeptical of Trump indicates that Biden’s endorsement is likely to elude the same types of groups in key metropolitan areas such as Atlanta,” said J. Miles Coleman, political analyst at the University of Virginia Center. for politics.
Biden showed confidence on Tuesday during a press conference in Glasgow before returning to Washington by leaning towards the microphones and saying, “We’re going to win,” when asked about the Virginia race.
He also suggested that the campaign should not be seen as a reflection of his legislative proposals, which are stuck in the quicksand of Congress, as progressive and moderate legislators debate what should be included and how to pay for it. House Democrats hope to overcome the congestion with a streak of votes this week, and another delay could undermine momentum for an agreement.
As Biden progresses, he will draw on a dwindling pool of political goodwill, and opinion polls show the president is becoming increasingly unpopular.
The average of polls conducted by the political website FiveThirtyEight shows that Biden’s approval rating fell sharply in August, in line with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The gap has widened since then, with 50.7% disapproving and 43% supporting his work.
Biden brushed aside the gloomy numbers during a previous press conference in Rome, where he attended the G-20 Forum for World Leaders.
“Polls will go up and down, up and down,” he said Sunday. “They were high before, then average, then they rose again, and now they are low.”
Biden immediately reminds reporters that he has already been written off. The pundits read his final rituals of the presidential campaign before he received the Democratic nomination last year, and are constantly checking the pulse on his legislative agenda.
“You all thought it wouldn’t happen from the very beginning, from the moment I announced it, and you’re always surprised when it comes to life again,” he said. “Well, maybe you’re right – maybe it won’t work. But I think that by the end of next week we will see at home that everything is gone. “
Sean Clegg, a Democrat strategist from San Francisco, said the Virginia exodus forces Biden to contain the consequences of his disappointing assessments.
“If it bodes well for 2022 – you can argue about it,” Clegg said. “But [the Virginia election] clearly reflects the dynamics that are now happening in the party and with the president, and we need to fix this if we want to achieve any success. “
Biden’s agenda is split between two pieces of legislation. One focuses on investing in infrastructure such as roads and bridges, while the other focuses on tackling climate change and expanding social safety nets. Before leaving for Europe last week, the president unveiled a revised framework for the latest law in hopes of pushing negotiations towards completion.
House Democrats are set to vote on both measures in the coming days. However, it is unclear whether there will be enough support from progressives concerned that centrist Senator Joe Manchin (DW.V.) and Kirsten Cinema (Arizona) will oppose the social spending bill.
Clegg said McAuliffe was ultimately worth the race “feeling like, okay, we’ve given you all the reins, and you’re giving you nothing but a picture of an internal feud.”
“All forces that have hindered visible progress in the House and Senate must stop it,” Clegg said.
Chris Steerwalt, a former political editor for Fox News, predicted that the immediate consequences among Democrats would be “anger at the Progressive Congress, as well as at Manchin and Sinema” over protracted negotiations on Biden’s legislative agenda. ”
“The decision to blockade [the] The bipartisan infrastructure package was an essential part of McAuliffe’s problems, ”Stirwalt said.
Biden’s task is to unite the warring flanks of his party, especially since Trump is not in power in order to unite them into opposition. Otherwise, the president risks looking “weak and incapable of work,” said Stirwalt, now a senior fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
Biden has been asked repeatedly about the heated debate over his proposals in Europe, especially when he pledged to world leaders that the US would take drastic action on climate change.
During a press conference in Rome, the president said that, in his opinion, he will succeed.
“In my opinion, it will pass,” he said. “But we’ll see. Let’s see.”