Democrats/progressives 2022-

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The Catch-24 of Replacing Joe Biden
Democrats would like a new presidential candidate. The problem is that the current president is plugging along fine.
By David A. Graham
(The Atlantic) Most Democrats don’t want Joe Biden to run for president again in 2024. And yet, as things look now, most Democrats are likely to vote for Joe Biden to run for president again in 2024.
Biden has a few reasons for running: He seems to enjoy being president. His administration has already been more successful than many people expected, though this also gives him a reason to retire gracefully. But nothing motivates Biden more these days than turning back the threat to American democracy that he sees posed by Donald Trump and his heirs, and Biden worries that there is no Democrat who could marshal the same coalition he led in 2020 to defeat Trump.

26 January
Adam Schiff Runs for Senate on the Enemies He’s Made
It’s probably not a coincidence that Schiff is announcing his Senate bid immediately following his expulsion from the House Intelligence Committee by Speaker Kevin McCarthy for his alleged misconduct in investigating Russia’s links with Trump and his campaign (and in making the case for Trump’s impeachment). Schiff was also a steady prosecutorial presence on the January 6 committee that McCarthy and most Republicans boycotted.
(New York) Dianne Feinstein, has held a Senate seat for over 30 years. As the 89-year-old political icon moves toward an almost certain retirement in 2024 (though she now says she won’t announce her intention until next year), another ideological moderate has just announced a bid to succeed her. Los Angeles congressman Adam Schiff, though, has an asset most centrist Democrats (those not named Clinton or Biden, anyway) can’t claim: the rabid hatred of Donald Trump–loving Republicans, giving him the sort of partisan street cred even the most rigorous progressives might envy.
(Politico) Democrats nervous about whether they have any young stars that can cut national profiles would be wise to look towards the inaugurations of Pennsylvania and Maryland’s new governors, writes Jonathan Martin.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro made headlines for taking the oath of office last week on a stack of scripture that included a Hebrew bible from Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, site of the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history.
The next day, outside Maryland’s history-drenched State House in Annapolis, it was Oprah Winfrey who left many attendees (and perhaps even a few local pols) starstruck. Winfrey introduced Gov. Wes Moore, the state’s first Black governor and only the third-ever elected African-American governor.

21 January
A different kind of inauguration in Annapolis
By Michele L. Norris
(WaPo) He took the oath of office using his full name — Westley Watende Omari Moore — with his hand on a Bible once owned by Frederick Douglass.
He stood solemnly as former NAACP Legal Defense Fund director Sherrilyn Ifill recited a list of five Black men who were lynched in or near the Annapolis city limits by angry White mobs.
… Lt. Col. Jamie Martinez (Ret.). Martinez took the microphone to remind [the] audience that the 44-year-old Moore isn’t just a political phenom: he was also a fellow soldier from the 82nd Airborne who led troops in Afghanistan.
Moore is a man to watch. He is a powerful storyteller with an inspiring tale: a Rhodes scholar, military veteran, investment banker, philanthropic leader and best-selling author who was once a rebellious kid who tried to run away from Valley Forge Military Academy. Yet he became a success through a combination of tough love, hard work, mentorship and luck.

5 January
Democratic leadership is off to a great start — thanks to MAGA crazies
By Jennifer Rubin
Nancy Pelosi is a hard act to follow. … Despite her thin majority in the last session, she shepherded through a raft of historic legislation (e.g., the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure plan, the Pact Act, the Chips and Science Act, codification of gay marriage, the Inflation Reduction Act and multiple rounds of aid to Ukraine).
Her successor, Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), and his new leadership team — including Democratic Whip Katherine M. Clark (Mass.), Democratic Caucus chair Pete Aguilar (Calif.) and Democratic Caucus vice chair Ted Lieu (Calif.) — could have suffered by comparison. Then came the MAGA Republican clown show. …
This is a more diverse leadership cohort for Democrats, with not a single White male in the top four slots. It is also younger, meaning its members are more comfortable with social media and favor crisp, clean phrases.
But despite these differences from their predecessors, they are demonstrating that they have learned key lessons at the knee of Pelosi and her team: Never interfere when opponents are self-destructing. Focus on the needs of working Americans. And revel in their unity.
Pelosi (Calif.) likes to say that her party’s “strength came from the unity.” At a moment when progressives are eager to join the Democrat’s “Squad” faction and moderates are convinced that the party’s future rests in hewing to the center, the new leadership team will likely have its hands full getting everyone on the same page. But for now, they are practically basking in the benefits of sober leadership.


19 December
Georgia U.S. Senate Runoff Election Results
Senator Raphael Warnock defeated his challenger, Herschel Walker, a former football star and Trump-backed Republican, in the Georgia runoff. The win gave Mr. Warnock, the first Black senator from Georgia, a full six-year term. Full results from the general election

30 November
Charles Mahtesian: Democrats prepare for the Senate map from hell
(Politico) After Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s fate is decided next week in Georgia’s Senate runoff against Republican Herschel Walker, don’t expect a breather. Democrats will almost immediately be back on defense, as the lopsided nature of the 2024 Senate playing field comes into full view.
Democrats are defending roughly two-thirds of the seats up for election in 2024 — 23 of 34 seats — including in a handful of the most competitive states in the nation. Republicans, on the other hand, will be defending seats in some of the reddest and least competitive states — places where Democrats don’t have a prayer of winning.
Worse, at a time when split-ticket voting is on the decline, three Democratic incumbents are seeking reelection in states that former President Donald Trump carried — Montana, Ohio and West Virginia. In contrast, no Republican incumbents are running in states that President Joe Biden won.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries elected as leader of the House Democrats
(NPR) As House minority leader, Jeffries will become the first Black person to lead a major political party in Congress. He is among a new slate of leaders elected Wednesday to lead House Democrats in the next session of Congress, including Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., as Jeffries’ No. 2, and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., as the third-ranking leader.
Jeffries, 52, who ran unopposed, is 30 years younger than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi announced earlier this month she would remain in Congress, but not run for the leadership post she has held atop the Democratic caucus for nearly two decades after Republicans gained a razor-thin majority in the 2022 midterms.
Pelosi praised the leadership team following the caucus election Wednesday, saying the new leaders will “reinvigorate our Caucus with their new energy, ideas and perspective.”

23 November
Schumer proposes Dem leadership shake-up
He is seeking to eliminate the No. 3 spot in his team.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is proposing a change to his leadership team’s structure next Congress that appears likely to promote Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar, according to two Democratic aides familiar with the matter and a copy of the proposal obtained by POLITICO on Wednesday.

18 November
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t seek a leadership role in the new Congress. Her decision comes after Democrats lost the House majority to Republicans in the midterm elections and after the brutal attack on her husband, Paul, by an intruder at their San Francisco home. Her legacy will be lasting. Even her adversaries acknowledged that hers was a remarkable era. Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich says she was a “totally dominant” figure in Congress and “one of the strongest speakers in history.” Her Democratic allies agree.
Pelosi, dominant figure for the ages, leaves lasting imprint
She is the most powerful woman in American politics and one of the nation’s most consequential legislative leaders — through times of war, financial turmoil, a pandemic and an assault on democracy.
(AP) Across the policy spectrum, whether you liked the results or not, she delivered votes that touched ordinary lives in many ways. Among them: how millions get health care, the state of the roads, the lightened burden of student debt, the minimum wage, progress on climate change that took over a decade to bear fruit.
The Toughness of Nancy Pelosi
She helped save Obamacare and other transformative legislation, and made it clear when the nonsense had to stop.
By Amy Davidson Sorkin
Although she did not name him, her presumed successor is Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, who is fifty-two. Jeffries is expected to be joined in the leadership by Katherine Clark, of Massachusetts, who is fifty-nine, and Pete Aguilar, of California, who is forty-three. In addition to Pelosi, they would displace Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, the House Majority Leader, who is eighty-three, and Jim Clyburn, of South Carolina, the Majority Whip, who is eighty-two.

2 November
Is Obama the closer his party needs — or Democratic kryptonite?
(WaPo) With President Biden down in the doldrums of presidential unpopularity, desperate swing state Democrats are turning to former president Barack Obama to campaign for them.
That might not be such a great idea
Hindsight can be rosy, but Obama’s record of helping down-ballot Democrats is … less than stellar. In fact, Obama presided over the loss of more House, Senate, state legislative and governors’ seats than any president in U.S. history.
While Obama was a two-term president, after eight years in office he had driven about 8.4 million Americans who voted for him away from the Democrats and into the arms of Donald Trump.
Devastating review of some Harris pronouncements
For the good of the country, Biden and Harris should bow out of the 2024 election
George Will
During this autumn’s avalanche of political news, an enormous boulder bounced by, barely noticed. It demonstrated why Joe Biden should not seek another term. Democrats should promptly face that fact, and this one: An Everest of evidence shows that Vice President Harris is starkly unqualified to be considered as his successor.

Heather Cox Richardson: November 1, 2022
The Biden White House has tried since President Joe Biden’s inauguration to move past the Trump years and to focus instead on strengthening democracy by rebuilding the American middle class and by renewing our alliances and friendships with democratic allies. As his message has repeatedly been drowned out by the cultural messaging of the Republicans, Biden has begun to criticize their economic plans more directly, especially in the last few weeks. Today the White House released a fact sheet laying out exactly what it would look like to have the Republicans’ economic plans put into effect.
The Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August with Democratic votes alone, allows Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies, caps the annual cost of medication at $2,000, caps insulin costs for those on Medicare at $35 a month, and lowers health care premiums for those whose coverage comes from the Affordable Care Act.
The White House said that Republicans want to repeal these measures, and in October, Senate Republicans James Lankford (OK), Mike Lee (UT), Cynthia Lummis (WY), and Marco Rubio (FL) in fact introduced the “Protecting Drug Innovation Act” to remove the negotiation ability, price caps, and health care premium adjustments in the Inflation Reduction Act. …

Top Democrats Question Their Party’s Strategy as Midterm Worries Grow
Leading lawmakers and strategists are openly doubting the party’s kitchen-sink approach, saying Democrats have failed to unite around one central message.
The criticisms by Democrats in the final days of the midterm elections signal mounting anxiety as Republicans hammer away with attacks over the economy and public safety. For weeks, Democrats have offered a scattershot case of their own, accusing their opponents of wanting to gut abortion rights, shred the social safety net and shake the foundations of American democracy.
Yet as the country struggles with high gas prices, record inflation and economic uncertainty, some Democrats now acknowledge that their kitchen-sink approach may be lacking.
… Former President Barack Obama rallied with Democrats in Michigan on Saturday. He and President Biden have increasingly emphasized economic concerns.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has sounded alarm bells that Democrats are struggling to motivate working-class voters. Former President Barack Obama, who is traveling the country to campaign in some of the tightest races for Senate and governor, urged Democrats not to be “a buzz kill” by making people feel as if they were “walking on eggshells” when it came to issues like race and gender.
And several prominent Democrats have worried that their party has not fully acknowledged the pain of rising prices — or effectively pointed the finger at Republicans over the higher costs.

8 September
Democrats are finally running a full-on campaign against Trumpism
By Perry Bacon Jr.
(WaPo) President Biden and the Democrats are running a markedly more progressive and partisan campaign than they did in 2018 and 2020. They are casting Republican officials as radical and anti-democratic, and they’re embracing liberal priorities like gun control, abortion rights and getting rid of the Senate filibuster. They may not win the midterms this way. But if they do, the party will be much better set up than it was at the start of Biden’s presidency not only to confront Trumpism but also to pass a bold agenda.
Heading into the 2022 midterms, it’s not as if Biden or Democrats running in swing states and districts sound like Ocasio-Cortez. Many are touting the party’s bipartisan accomplishments, like the infrastructure bill. They are still taking some swipes at the party’s left wing, most notably in calling for more police funding and attacking the “defund the police” slogan. The party is still overly cautious on many issues, particularly in not calling for any reforms of the judiciary, which is currently dominated by conservative judges eager to defend Republican Party priorities and obstruct Democratic ones.
But in general, the president and Democrats have a new campaign tone. It is hard to imagine Biden two years ago using the term MAGA repeatedly or swing-district Democrats emphasizing their support of abortion rights.

2 September
Biden’s speech walks a fine line in its attack on MAGA Republicans
(NPR) Democrats have picked up some momentum this election cycle with wins in multiple special elections, following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
And the FBI search of former President Trump’s Florida home has thrust Trump back into the spotlight, front and center. Lots of his candidates have won contentious primaries; he’s consolidated his base; and his renewed presence has threatened to make the November elections a choice rather than a referendum on President Biden.
Biden and the White House leaned into that Thursday night with an unusual prime-time address that broke no news or made any big announcements. Instead, Biden took the opportunity to elevate Trump and make it a choice between what Biden and Democrats stand for and MAGA Republican extremism, as he sees it, and their rising influence in positions of power throughout the country.

24 August
Gavin Newsom, the Ron DeSantis of the Left
California has many problems, but its governor keeps tangling with right-wingers out of state.
(The Atlantic) Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, has made a striking choice of which public fights to pick. Since 2019, he has been in charge of America’s most populous state—one that confronts severe water, energy, and housing shortages; growing homeless encampments in multiple cities; rising homicide counts; failing schools; perpetually gridlocked traffic; and infamously bad public transportation. In a poll earlier this year from UC Berkeley and the Los Angeles Times, a majority of voters said that California is headed in the wrong direction.
Nevertheless, he has been devoting much of his attention to publicly heaping scorn on conservatives around the country.

23 August
Coming to Democratic campaigns: Dobbs, and a reminder of the MAGA menace
As we have noted, since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision stripped women of the fundamental right to control their own health-care decisions, more women than men, and more Democrats than Republicans, have registered to vote in many states. That trend is continuing as other evidence mounts of a Dobbs backlash in November.

19 August
California voters want Biden to step aside — and see Newsom as a top contender to succeed him A new poll lays out the Democratic governor’s potential path to the White House.
— California voters want Biden to step aside — and see Newsom as a top contender to succeed him: Californians overwhelmingly do not want Biden to seek another term and see Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as a prime contender to succeed him, according to a new poll. A new Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll of California voters underscored the peril for Biden and potential for Newsom. A resounding 61 percent of voters surveyed online Aug. 9-15 said Biden should not run in 2024, including about half of Democratic voters and most independents. Newsom and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who finished first in the 2020 California primary — were tied as Democratic and independent voters’ top choice to replace Biden, followed by Vice President Kamala Harris

28 July
In victory for Democrats, Congress sends chip subsidy bill to Biden
The massive semiconductor subsidy bill was approved after House Democrats closed ranks to fend off a last-minute GOP revolt against the bill.
Joe Biden’s Presidency Is Suddenly Back From the Dead
Joe Manchin pulls an about-face, comes out for Inflation Reduction Act!
(New York) Less than two weeks ago, Joe Biden’s domestic agenda appeared to be completely dead when Joe Manchin backed away from the domestic policy bill he had been negotiating. But now, in a shocking turnabout, Manchin has made a deal with the Biden administration on a major bill.
The deal between Manchin and Biden would include the main features they had been working on before it fell apart: a tax increase on the wealthy, more money for IRS enforcement, letting the federal government bargain down the cost of prescription drugs, and splitting the proceeds between deficit reduction and energy reform and improvements for Obamacare. The energy measures have changed over time. Manchin described the policy as an “all of the above” package that combines green-energy-transition subsidies with the promotion of immediate fossil-fuel extraction to bring down prices in the short term.
The bill would spend $370 billion on energy investments, extend Obamacare subsidies for three years, and reduce the deficit by $300 billion.

24 July
Quit, Joe, Quit! Biden could save the midterms with a one-term pledge.
By Steven L. Isenberg
(WaPo) President Biden should announce now that he will not run for reelection in 2024. He should not ask the Democratic Party, or the nation, to assume the risk of a second four-year term that would begin after he reached the age of 82.
Here’s why the decision not to run should come promptly.
First, and most important, the midterm elections this November would become about key issues and the quality of individual House and Senate candidates rather than the merits of Biden’s presidency and whether voters feel he should run again.
That new freedom would permit him to say with absolute conviction that every ounce of his energy, focus and political capital will be devoted to addressing the nation’s immediate needs and the matters he feels most deeply shape our future.
Biden…has been a stronger president than the polls suggest. His convictions on guns, abortion, the Supreme Court, China and inflation have been made with candor. His attainments in judicial appointments, and aspirations for physical and social infrastructure, as well as climate change, form a serious agenda. He has been strong and firm enough to lead the West’s response to Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Ukraine and used his time and presence by traveling to further his foreign policy on the world stage.
He would bolster this agenda, and silence the unnecessary polling questions and their unsettling results, which sap his hold on voters’ patience and confidence, by making a one-term decision and announcement before the midterms.
Why not direct all Biden’s strength to moving public opinion and Congress toward comity and achievement over the next two years? Biden stands a better chance of a favorable congressional result for the Democrats in November’s election, and of being able to pass legislation during the rest of his term, if the focus is on the House and Senate candidates and their positions on the issues. His age, and his presidency, would be greatly reduced as an issue this fall.

18 July
Kamala Harris’ ‘How dare they’ tour
(Politico) With Democratic frustrations running high and Biden under pressure from abortion-rights advocates to respond to the Supreme Court decision overturning of Roe v. Wade, Harris is emerging as a focal point of the administration’s response — and perhaps its most forceful voice.
The conversations — in Washington, D.C., Orlando, Philadelphia and Atlantic City over the last week and a half — are allowing the vice president to take a renewed role on the frontlines of the fight for reproductive rights, which she has been involved in going back to her days as California attorney general. And, in a moment of uncertainty about who will carry the mantle of the Democratic Party forward post-Biden, whether in 2024 or 2028, the meetings have put her front and center in a conversation over how abortion rights will play out in the states in a post-Roe paradigm.

15 July
Manchin disputes claims he rejected Dems’ climate and energy spending
“As far as I’m concerned, I want climate, I want an energy policy.
Sen. Joe Manchin on Friday shot down reports that he’s walked away from climate and energy investments under Democrats’ party-line spending bill.
The West Virginia senator said instead he’d like to see the July inflation figures before making any determinations.
“I can’t make that decision basically on taxes of any type and also on the energy and climate because it takes the taxes to pay for the investment in the clean technology that I’m in favor of. But I’m not going to do something and overreach that causes more problems.” …
“I think we need an energy policy that works for our country,” the Senate Energy Committee chair added. “I think we need an investment into the new technologies that will be totally carbon-free and we can do that also with those investments, but we cannot expect those investments to produce the energy that we need in a 10-year cycle without relying on the transition in fossil that we need right now.”

6 July
‘Be absolutely furious’: Dems want more from Biden after Highland Park
The president signed the first major gun bill in thirty years. He may soon get an ATF director confirmed. Some in his party still feel he’s missing the moment.
(Politico) Perhaps no issue better encapsulates the Biden administration’s viewpoint and tactics than how it has chosen to tackle the epidemic of gun violence. The president makes no secret of his bolder legislative ambitions. He has called for an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines, stronger background checks, greater legal liability for gun manufacturers and a slew of other reforms. But those efforts have been stymied by Republicans in Congress, and he has had to balance dueling demands: righteous indignation of fellow Democrats and the plodding, incremental progress that comes with bipartisan compromise.

29 June
The Vanishing Moderate Democrat
Their positions are popular. So why are they going extinct?
By Jason Zengerle
(NYT Magazine) The bigger, more consequential question — not just for the moderates but for all Democrats — is whether this projected midterm wipeout is merely a cyclical occurrence or the manifestation of a much deeper and more intractable problem. Over the last decade, the Democratic Party has moved significantly to the left on almost every salient political issue. Some of these shifts in a more ambitiously progressive direction, especially as they pertain to economic issues, have largely tracked with public opinion: While socialism might not poll well with voters, Democratic proposals to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and lower the age of Medicare eligibility do.
But on social, cultural and religious issues, particularly those related to criminal justice, race, abortion and gender identity, the Democrats have taken up ideological stances that many of the college-educated voters who now make up a sizable portion of the party’s base cheer but the rest of the electorate does not. “The Democratic Party moved left,” says Will Marshall, the president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, a moderate Democratic think tank, “but the country as a whole hasn’t.”

27 June
Frustration, anger rising among Democrats over caution on abortion
A growing number of Democrats are voicing anger at what they see as the passivity of President Biden and other party leaders in the face of hard-hitting GOP tactics on abortion and other issues.
Just hours after the Supreme Court decision ending 50 years of abortion rights, President Biden outlined his ideal response: Elect more Democrats. “This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” Biden said at the White House. “Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.”
A short distance away, House Democrats gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to sing a heartfelt rendition of “God Bless America” to celebrate the passage of a modest gun control bill — a moment that felt tone deaf to many Democrats given the judicial bombshell that had just landed.
Progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have outlined several actions they want to see Democrats embrace: Building abortion clinics on federal land. Funding people to seek abortions out of state. Limiting the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction or expanding its membership. Ending the filibuster.

16 May
The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now
(New York) Less than six months out from the midterms, Democrats are facing a brutal election environment thanks in part to inflation, general malaise, and the usual desire by fickle Americans to punish the party they put in power two years prior.
New polling numbers emphasize the challenge the party is facing. An NBC survey released on Monday found the Democratic Party with a favorability rating of -19. That was lower than any other person or entity surveyed, including the Republican Party (-11), Vice-President Kamala Harris (-17), and Donald Trump (-16).

2 May
Very sad!
As Feinstein Declines, Democrats Struggle to Manage an Open Secret
On Capitol Hill, it is widely — though always privately — acknowledged that Ms. Feinstein suffers from acute short-term memory issues that on some days are ignorable, but on others raise concern among those who interact with her.
She was once pressed to run for governor of California by President Bill Clinton. She was considered as a running mate to former Vice President Walter F. Mondale. And after the bitter 2008 Democratic primary, it was in her living room that former Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met to make peace.
At 88, Ms. Feinstein sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement — including about why she is increasingly dogged by questions about whether she is fit to serve in the Senate representing the 40 million residents of California.
A recent article in The San Francisco Chronicle, her hometown paper, reported that some of Ms. Feinstein’s colleagues believe she is mentally incompetent to serve. It recounted in brutal detail the signs of her decline on the job, an open secret that leading Democrats have quietly accepted as the status quo, but that some people close to her worry has become a spectacle that could tarnish her legacy.

19 April
Can Democrats Turn Their 2022 Around?
Midterm elections are around the corner. Sean McElwee and Anat Shenker-Osorio discuss the fights Democrats need to pick to win over voters.
…we’re a bit more than six months out from the midterm election. And it looks bad for Democrats, really bad. Build Back Better is dead, at least for now. Inflation is outpacing wage gains, and it’s not close. Biden’s approval rating is about where Trump’s was at this point in Trump’s term. And while I don’t put any stock at all in 2024 polling in 2022, it was definitely a psychological blow for Democrats to see the recent Harvard Harris Poll showing Trump winning a Trump-Biden match by 6 points. That’s not the first recent poll showing Trump with a lead in a Trump-Biden match-up.
More relevant, of course, are the polls asking whether Americans want Republicans or Democrats in Congress. FiveThirtyEight is tracking those, and Republicans are leading by about two points on average. If that holds, Republicans are very, very, very likely to win back Congress in November. Now, some of this just reflects midterm blues. The governing party tends to have a bad midterm. That’s a pretty constant thing in American politics, absent very extraordinary circumstances.
… if they want to continue governing well, they need to not do too poorly in the election. So what do they intend to make 2022 about? What should they, what can they make it about? It’s important to say that question, it isn’t open-ended. You can’t just make an election about whatever you choose. You can only make politics about the issues and controversies that unleash enough energy to capture public attention.
Trump was a master at this. If he had anything, it was the theory of attention. What he wasn’t was strategic about the attention he got. He knew how to control the agenda, but he often did it in ways that made him really unpopular. Biden, I think, has the opposite problem. He’s strategic. He wants to talk about popular things. He has a sense of how he’d like the country to view him, but he doesn’t have a theory of how to control the agenda. He doesn’t have a knack for making politics, making media, making controversy about the issues he wants people talking about.

17 April
Charles M. Blow: A Biden Blood Bath?
Quinnipiac University found that President Biden’s approval rating had sunk to just 33 percent. You might argue that this was just one poll, but Biden’s approval is down in multiple surveys.
As CNN’s Harry Enten pointed out Friday, there were four major national polls released last week, and in three of them — including Quinnipiac — Biden had the lowest showing of his presidency. In the fourth, he was “one point off the lowest.”
These are just devastating results on the heels of a historic Supreme Court confirmation and only seven months out from the midterms.
When Politico’s Ryan Lizza last week asked the Biden pollster John Anzalone how dire the situation had become for Democrats, Anzalone responded in blunt terms, saying that no Democratic consultant would say “that this is anything but a really sour environment for Democrats.”

7 March
Wins for Dems in NC, PA as court rejects GOP election plans
(AP) — In a victory for Democrats, the Supreme Court has turned away efforts from Republicans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to block state court-ordered congressional districting plans.
In separate orders late Monday, the justices are allowing maps selected by each state’s Supreme Court to be in effect for the 2022 elections. Those maps are more favorable to Democrats than the ones drawn by the states’ legislatures.

25 January
Hoyer: Voting rights bill, BBB ‘very much alive’
The House majority leader expressed optimism but didn’t offer specifics.
(Politico) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer remains optimistic that Democrats will pass the voting rights legislation and the Build Back Better bill despite roadblocks but offered few details about how that could happen.
“I do not buy your characterization of the Voting Rights Act being ‘dead’ in the Senate.” … “It certainly is not in the shape I’d like it to be in, but we’re not going to forget about that.”
Hoyer was similarly bullish about the fate of the Build Back Better bill, a key piece of President Joe Biden’s social infrastructure agenda. Biden hinted last week that the bill may need to be broken into “chunks” to be passed, a move designed to appease Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who blocked passage in December after it made it through the House.
Hoyer said he is confident that he can corral House Democrats to rally around a smaller bill. “I think we can and I think we will,” he said. “We have to look at what we can get, not what we’d like to get.”
Hoyer declined to say which provisions might be shaved off in the Senate but did say that the child tax credit is “very important.”

20 January
Behind their big defeat, Democrats may have reached a turning point
Paul Waldman
Democrats, including the president who has spent so much time insisting that he can achieve bipartisanship, are simply done waiting for Republicans to see the light. The next step is for them to get mad enough to do something about it.
Which might happen. Even though the most likely outcome in 2022 is a Republican sweep (following the usual midterm election pattern), Democratic voters can and should be angry enough about the death of these voting bills — among many other things, including the Supreme Court’s likely overturning of Roe v. Wade this year — to organize, register and overcome Republican voter suppression to get to the polls in November.
If you’re a Democrat and you’re mad at Manchin and Sinema — and you should be — the answer is to make them irrelevant by electing a few more Democrats to the Senate.

16 January
Charles M. Blow: Failure on Voting Rights Would Be Historic
After Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema made it clear that they were not in favor of altering the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation, essentially dooming the bills to failure and ensuring that Republicans could continue their efforts to unleash an era of modified Jim Crow, the best the White House could say not to sound completely defeated was that they were going to keep fighting.

With Voting Bills Dead, Democrats Face Costly Fight to Overcome G.O.P. Curbs
Party officials now say they are resigned to spending and organizing their way around the new voting restrictions passed in Republican-controlled states.
With the door slammed shut this week on federal legislation to create new protections for access to voting, Democrats face an electoral landscape in which they will need to spend heavily to register and mobilize voters if they are to overcome the hodgepodge of new voting restrictions enacted by Republicans across the country.
Democrats rode record turnout to win the presidency and control of the Senate in 2020 after embracing policies that made it easier to vote with absentee ballots during the pandemic. But Republican-controlled state legislatures have since enacted a range of measures that undo those policies, erect new barriers to voting and remove some of the guardrails that halted former President Donald J. Trump’s drive to overturn the election.

11 January
What a progressive champion from rural Maine can teach Democrats about winning
(WaPo) The 2022 midterms are still 10 months away — but if much of the media is to be believed, the fight is already over before it’s even begun.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “alarm bells are ringing in the Democratic Party.” Politico says Democrats are confronting “the prospect of a 2022 hurricane.” CNN depicts “dejected” Democrats facing a “grim 2022 outlook.” One prognosticator at Vox has pegged Democratic chances of losing the House and Senate at 95 percent.
[Chloe Maxmin, a champion of progressive policies in deep-red rural America] knows how to win in rural America, even as Democrats lose there at historic rates — and she can teach vital lessons about persuading those supposedly unreachable voters.
First, to reach someone, you have to reach out. Rural Democrats consistently lament that the national party hasn’t invested enough money or time in rural organizing. By contrast, during her 2020 campaign, Maxmin says she had 90,000 voter contacts, the most of any state Senate campaign in the state. Her closest opponent had just 35,000. As a result, she connected with persuadable Trump voters who had never spoken with a Democratic candidate.
And Maxmin didn’t just talk to voters; she sought to understand them. As she told me during an interview last year, her canvassing strategy was “to stand there for 10 or 15 minutes and have a conversation — and then go back and follow up.” The progressive advocacy group People’s Action calls this approach “deep canvassing,” and found that it helped decrease Trump’s margins where implemented in key battleground states.

The Atlantic newsletter:
We are exactly 300 days out from the 2022 midterm elections—not much time at all, if you factor in the congressional calendar and campaign season, for Democrats to pass both their Build Back Better Act (or, as we’re calling it, the Big Bill) and comprehensive national voting reform. (Although things seem to be looking up for the latter, the spending package remains stalled.)
If history is any guide, the party is likely to lose seats in Congress come November. That means its window for passing an agenda is quickly closing. Three Atlantic writers weigh in on where things stand and what the future may hold.
This is a now-or-never moment for climate legislation. “Every day that goes by, the party takes another step toward political catastrophe and planetary misgovernance,” Robinson Meyer warns. (Joe Manchin isn’t the only Democrat gambling with Earth’s future, he says.)
But there’s one bold economic move Joe Biden doesn’t need Congress for. The president could cancel student-loan debt unilaterally, but he says he won’t, Russell Berman reports.
And looking forward, America needs an abundance agenda. The country’s deficits go far beyond a lack of COVID tests—other essential goods such as housing and health care remain in short supply. Scarcity is “the story of America today,” Derek Thompson argues. The solution would draw on several ideologies to usher in an era where time, power, and comfort are in abundance for all Americans.

Hillary Clinton 2024? Biden-Cheney 2024? No. Here are the real sleeper Democratic tickets.
(Except not really.) (Unless they actually happen.)
(WaPo) The most important thing for now is for us to float our own far-fetched sleeper tickets for the Democrats in 2024. Even as we write this, we recognize that certain crazy things have happened in recent years and that snarking at such things is a recipe for later embarrassment.

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