Voters Sure Do Love Biden, Democrats’ Radical ‘Don’t Let Us Starve’ Agenda
Conventional wisdom is that the president's party suffers brutal losses during midterm elections, but what if conventional wisdom is wrong? Despite the hair's width between the Democrats' 218 seats, the Republican's 211, and six vacancies, maybe we can keep the speaker's gavel out of Kevin McCarthy's hands. A new poll conducted after the former White House squatter was run out of town shows a nine-point gap between the number of Americans who identify as Democrats or are Democratic-curious and those who support the QAnon-friendly Republican Party.
A Gallup poll conducted from January to March showed that 49% of respondents consider themselves Democrats or leaning that way, while 40% consider themselves Republicans or lean that way.
Gallup said the jump comes mostly from Republicans leaving the party at the end of President Donald Trump's tenure. Only 25% of U.S. adults firmly identify with the Republicans, down from 29% late last year.
This seems reasonable because Republicans are terrible and you should feel ashamed if you are one.
In fairness, it's not unusual for Democratic party affiliation to increase after a Democrat wins the presidency. There were similar bumps after Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were elected in 1992 and 2008, respectively. Then America got tired of winning and gave power to Newt Gingrich and later the Tea Party, which even a day-drinking John Boehner now somewhat regrets.
However, health care tripped up Clinton and Obama in 1994 and 2010. Republicans were able to sell Americans on preserving their freedom to die from treatable illnesses. Now, Republicans appear fixated on a Dr. Seuss platform. They're trying to make “cancel culture" the new “death panels," but no one is biting.
This is likely because President Joe Biden is a savvy political operator whose decades of experience provide him a rare insight into voter preferences: We don't like to starve. We especially don't enjoy starving while dying from COVID-19. Biden has addressed both issues right out of the gate.
The president's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package is so popular even the Republicans who didn't vote for it (so, all of them) are trying to claim credit for the good things in the bill, because they are shameless liars who don't even know when they're lying anymore. It's just reflex, like gagging at the sight of Ted Cruz.
It's harder to demonize Democrats for passing a bill when Republicans have hopped on its bandwagon. Sure, full-blown MAGA supporters often demonstrate an astonishing amount of cognitive dissonance. These are the same voters who thought the Affordable Care Act was different from Obamacare, which they hated because the Black guy's name was on it. But independent voters are often deciding factors in midterm elections. Leading up to the 2010 shellacking, independents preferred the Republican congressional candidate over the eventual Democratic loser by an average of 10 points. It's a sad statement but Tea Party Republicans at least presented as more responsive to voter concerns than the anti-wokeness brigade. The GOP's sedition caucus isn't winning over independent voters, while Biden maintains a reasonable level of support from them.
The Bloomberg article also notes:
There has also been a spike in Americans identifying as independents, no matter which way they lean, since the election of President Joe Biden. Some 44% of respondents made that choice. The number is up from 38% at the end of 2020.
Look, traditional Democratic voters aren't the ones leaving the party in disgust right now. Arguably, 2010 through 2016 was the great migration of white working class voters or Reagan Democrats to the GOP. However, 2018 and 2020 saw more college-educated white voters and suburban Republicans hopping off the MAGA express.
The Affordable Care Act was underwater with independent voters before the 2010 and 2014 midterms, which proved fatal for Democrats. Biden's big damn liberal infrastructure bill, the American Jobs Plan, enjoys broad support among Democrats, independents, and even the few Republicans who are honest with themselves. This is probably why Republicans are resorting to calling the infrastructure bill the "Green New Reparations Bill." If these polls numbers get worse for them, they might try “Green New Smelly Socks Reparations Cancel Dr. Seuss Bill, And Malcolm X." But even racists still like money, jobs, broadband, and non-lead pipes.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."