Saturday, November 20, 2021

Will Passing the BBB Help the Democrats?

Well....maybe....some. But I am skeptical passing the bill, even it gets through the Senate back to the House and finally to the President's desk, will do much to improve the Democrats' prospects in 2022. There's not much time for voters to feel the effects of the many, many measures in the bill (which at this point most voters are extremely confused about). Plus the shambolic and interminable horse-trading and hostage-taking that went into the bill was dreadful for the Democrats' image among normie voters. Finally, the historical record of parties benefiting in midterms from big legislation is, to put it kindly, spotty. Ron Brownstein:
"The lesson of history is that it is extremely difficult for presidents to translate legislative success in their first year into political success in the midterm elections of their second year. Those early achievements can boost presidents in their reelection bids, but in almost all cases they have not proved an antidote to the other midterm factors that cause the president’s party to lose ground in Congress.
Failing to pass their agenda could compound the Democrats’ problems by disillusioning their base and sending a message of dysfunction to swing voters. But completing the agenda isn’t likely to save them from the president’s party’s usual midterm losses unless voters also grow more optimistic about contemporary conditions in the country—particularly the fight against COVID-19 and the economic instability flowing from the persistent pandemic."
Perhaps I am not giving enough credit to the Democrats' mighty message machine once it gets cranked up. But I think recent experience and Democrats' resolute refusal to confront their sociocultural weaknesses (see my new substack post) does not inspire optimism in the efficacy of said machine.
Of course, this doesn't mean passing the BBB wasn't/isn't worthwhile. But let's be realistic about its probable political effects. There is still much work to be done, most of which has little to with the BBB.

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