By David Potter
The midterms outlook keeps getting worse for Joe Biden and the Democrats. According to data from a new CBS YouGov poll, the priorities of the American people are poorly represented in the DC beltway. Issues that concern Americans the most are also the same issues in which Biden has the highest disapproval rating.
The top priorities for Americans are the economy (76 percent), inflation (73 percent), crime (59 percent), Russia/Ukraine (58 percent), and immigration (48 percent). Compare that against Biden’s approval rating and the picture becomes clear that reality is nowhere near meeting expectation.
To take a more intimate look at how the economy and inflation is harming the average American, one needs to look no further than surging gas prices. “Half of Americans (49 percent) say recent gas price increases have caused financial hardship for them or someone in their household, including 21 percent who describe that as ‘serious’ hardship. People with a high school education or less (29 percent) and minority Americans (28 percent) are most likely to site serious hardship” according to an Ipsos poll from April 10th.
This is not what Americans expected when they heard build back better. As the Democrat party moves further left, and in pursuit of more radical policies, many longtime party members are left feeling politically homeless and switching their affiliation. “I just got fed up and just felt like there has to be a better way,” said Beth Jones, 48, who is a retired police officer in Pennsylvania and ending her 30-year affiliation with the Democrat party. She’s not alone either. The ratio of people switching to red in Pennsylvania is 3.9 to 1 this year. For every Republican who switches to a Democrat, there are nearly four Democrats who switch to Republican. Other Pennsylvania Democrats who are switching parties cite concerns such as weak border control, socialism, and cultural concerns. This is not isolated to just Pennsylvania. Similar trends are happening in Florida and Nevada.
Democrats are having an identity crisis, and this also contributes to their poor poll numbers. Some members of Congress, such as Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), break party lines occasionally, defy Biden, and seek compromise. This mindset is frowned upon by more radical members of the Democrat Party such Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who is often referred to as AOC. She has an all or nothing mindset.
“I think there’s a real nostalgia and belief that that time still exists or that we can get back to that,’ said AOC, ‘that we can get back to this time of buddy-buddy and backslapping and we’ll cut a deal and go into a room with some bourbon and some smoke and you’ll come out and work something out.” She called on her fellow Democrats to shift their focus away from Independents – despite them being key to Biden’s 2020 performance – and focus on younger, more liberal voters who feel they are not “being seen”. AOC may be on to something because it doesn’t take much time browsing Twitter to find dissatisfied progressives. Like AOC, many want Biden to rule by executive decree and to forgive student loans.
As the economy crumbles before our eyes, Democrat enthusiasm is down in a major way as Biden is too moderate for some and too progressive for others. Back in 2010, the last time the enthusiasm gap was this large, Democrats lost more than 60 seats in the House. Given the 40-year high inflation and an overall approval presidential rating of 42 percent, a 2022 red wave seems inevitable unless GOP candidates make careless mistakes.