Thursday, January 20, 2022

What Democrats Actually Should Be Doing As Opposed to What They Are Doing

Peter Juul at The Liberal Patriot suggests a wiser course of action that holds some promise for getting the Democrats out of their current hole.
"It’s safe to say that President Biden hasn’t had the best of winters. His two main legislative priorities – the Build Back Better legislation and a voting rights bill – appear stalled. The omicron variant of COVID-19 sent cases skyrocketing across the country amidst a shortage of tests to detect the virus, though thankfully cases appear to have peaked and free tests will start shipping through the U.S. Postal Service by the end of the month. Inflation hit seven percent in December, the highest rate since 1982, and the third straight month with more than six percent increase in prices. To top it all off, Russia appears dead set on starting a full-blown war with Ukraine.
No wonder President Biden’s approval rating has bottomed out just a year into his presidency. A recent CBS poll, for instance, showed just 44 percent of the public approving of Biden’s performance – a first-year rating that bests only former President Trump’s dismal 37 percent. That poll also gives us a good indication of why the public mood has turned so sour one year into the Biden administration: a perceived lack of focus on the two issues Americans care most about, the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. Fully two-thirds of the public says the administration isn’t focused enough on inflation and that the fight against the pandemic is going badly. Making matters worse, 57 percent of Americans say the information provided by public health officials is confusing....
While most Americans remain focused on the persistent threats of COVID and inflation, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress find themselves in a legislative quagmire of their own making. The passage of the landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in November has been overshadowed since by bickering among Democrats over the Build Back Better legislation, voting rights, and the fate of the Senate filibuster that’s stymied progress on both fronts. Nor have fiery presidential speeches and jawboning behind closed doors conjured up the necessary votes for these bills.
As a matter of both politics and policy, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress need to rededicate themselves to the two issues that the public cares most about: the pandemic and the economy. As John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira have argued, the public cares little for the actually-existing-version of Build Back Better put forward by Congressional Democrats and doesn’t see voting rights as an existential priority in the same way as progressive activists. Worse, a failure to effectively address pressing public concerns about the pandemic and the economy threaten to undermine support for active government in the future."

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