by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The White House’s communications strategy is poised to devolve into a messaging war with Republicans as President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda grinds to a halt in Congress.
And with his hands tied by only the fourth evenly divided Senate in history, Biden has limited opportunities to improve his and the Democratic Party’s standing before November’s important midterm elections.
Democrats have a plethora of talking points that could persuade undecided or unmotivated people to vote for them this midterm cycle, according to former Democratic consultant Christopher Hahn.
“The Dems need to focus on the many accomplishments they have, including a very strong economy, the American Rescue Plan, and infrastructure,” Hahn told the Washington Examiner.
But skeptical economists, amplified by Republicans and even West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, contend the sprawling $2 trillion spending bill passed last year contributed to consumer price rises and record-high inflation rates amid the pandemic, particularly its unemployment provisions.
And while the $1 trillion public works deal was brokered between Democrats and Republicans, myriad popular, tangible projects, such as creating better broadband internet access, will not be completed by November’s midterm elections, which trends indicate will be difficult for Democrats as the party in power.
Biden’s presidency experienced multiple setbacks last week, some due to Democratic dissension, an inauspicious start to the new year after a disappointing first 12 months in office.
In addition to problematic pandemic and economic data, the Supreme Court blocking Biden’s private sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and Russian President Vladimir Putin undermining regional stability in Eastern Europe, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema thwarted the president’s efforts to pass voting and election bills when she stood firm in her position against modifying the Senate’s filibuster rules. Sinema’s floor speech preceded Biden’s trip to Capitol Hill, his third failed attempt to lobby lawmakers in person, having previously faced opposition from liberal colleagues rather than their centrist counterparts.