I never liked Biden-- to put it as politely as I can-- and I didn't vote for him, not even against Trump, obviously a far greater evil. Biden has always personified the corporate conservative end of the Democratic Party-- very much a Joe Manchin type for all his hippie-punching decades before he failed up from the Senate to the White House. Now that the whole wretched Democratic Party listened to South Carolina slug Jim Clyburn (instead of, for example, me), Biden is pretty much all that stands between a country clinging on to a tottering vaguely democratic form of government and a fascist state. The Democratic Party is so worthless! And the party bosses may be perplexed by this absolutely self-evident Gallup headline today: Biden Job Approval Down Most Among Younger Generations.
Gallup poll director Jeffrey Jones wrote that "Biden's recent job approval ratings, which are averaging 14 points lower than those early in his presidency, have declined far more among younger than older generations of Americans. In fact, Biden's job approval has changed relatively little among baby boomers and not at all among traditionalists. As a result, older Americans are now more likely to approve of the president than younger Americans are."
Philip Bump commented on Biden's dismal polling among young voters this morning as well, asking Why has Biden’s approval plunged with young people? "This isn’t how it’s supposed to be," he wrote. "Young people are expected to be the great future hope of the Democratic Party, with their liberal views influencing their vote for decades to come. Yet here we see disillusionment at least, if not distaste. Raising an obvious question: Why?"
Bump naively dismisses the importance of cancelling student debt, noting that "only a third of those under 30 have such debt, meaning that, for two-thirds of that group, this is probably less of a personal concern." But he correctly noted that "only a third of those under 30 have such debt, meaning that, for two-thirds of that group, this is probably less of a personal concern."
Some of this is probably a function of some younger adults seeing the Democratic Party (and Biden) as insufficiently liberal on things like climate change or, say, marijuana legalization. Some of this, in other words, is probably pressure on Biden from the left, not the center. But in the 2020 American National Election Studies survey, Whites under 30 were more likely to identify as liberal than Black or Hispanic Americans in the same age range even as Whites were more likely to identify as independent.
That brings us back to race. As the Washington Post reported in January, Black Americans in particular feel as though Biden hasn’t delivered on the things he promised during the 2020 election. The Democratic Party’s apparent erosion among Hispanics has been well documented.
These shifts may be passing but, of course, the timing for the party is bad. Democrats need turnout from Biden voters in the midterms to preserve their slight majorities in Congress. This poll suggests that the age groups that gave Biden his widest margins have grown the most skeptical of his tenure.
In other words: this will be disconcerting to Democrats over the short term, too.
So what are the Democrats doing about the public finally figuring out who Biden really is? Nothin'. AP ran a piece today titled Thinking small: Biden scrounges for ways to break through. Chris Megerian and Zeke Miller wrote that "Six months out from the midterm elections, Biden’s team is betting that smaller, discrete announcements can break through to voters better than talk of transformational plans that are so far only aspirational... Last week, that meant aides positioned big rigs outside the White House so Biden could talk about efforts to get more truck drivers on the road. A day later, he welcomed back former President Barack Obama for the signing of an executive order updating the Affordable Care Act. And after that, he signed bipartisan legislation intended to safeguard the U.S. Postal Service’s financial future... All of the policies Biden is touting will have direct impact on American lives-- but they also fall far short of the goals that Biden set for himself when taking office. Taken together, they show how the White House is trying to regain momentum at a time when Biden is under pressure to recalibrate his ambitions."
The theory is that "Democrats need to demonstrate they’re making progress even if they’re not passing the sweeping legislation they promised." There are dozens of executive orders Biden could promulgate to bypass a hostile, partisan Congress that would excite young voters, particularly around Climate. Biden's not up to it. That isn't stopping independent-minded progressive congressional candidates from campaigning on issues that the voters want to see enacted. I asked some of the ones who have been endorsed by Blue America starting with Daniel Lee, who is mayor of Culver City and the progressive candidate for the open seat Karen Bass is leaving. "Mainstream Democrats," he told me this afternoon, "seem to think that the fix for our dual crises of climate and income inequality, which came into glaring focus during the Trump administration, is to merely change the captain at the helm of the ship (i.e. elect Biden). REAL PROGRESSIVES know that #theclimatecrisis is not a campaign issue and that it needs bold climate action. The Green New Deal is just the start. Campaigns like ours know that the economic fallout from the pandemic isn't over and that policies like raising the federal minimum wage to $25/hr, cancelling student debt and passing a wealth tax are crowd pleasers that move voters to action and which also help alleviate the shameful state of income inequality in this country."
Ruth Luevanos is a teacher and a Simi Valley city council member-- and the only progressive in a very blue district held by a Republican, primarily because the Democratic establishment keeps putting up a GOP-lite centrist who inspires no one... and is running again, after being beaten 3 times. Ruth told me that she is "addressing the very issues that impact workers and families every day like the water board meeting I was at this morning demanding Boeing pay fines for polluting the water causing cancer in our kids. I am voting for renewable energy job training and creation in our communties on the Clean Power Alliance. I am fighting for daycare, loan forgiveness, trade tech school programs and full funding for our public schools like the one where I teach. We have to give our kids a future and the hope that someone is fighting for them."
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia is the progressive running in southeast L.A. County for an open congressional seat. "If you're a Latino or African American, and now a progressive," she wrote, "everyone wants your vote-- when a recall comes up or to ensure they keep the House or the Senate, to maintain their power and the status quo, instead of actually being concerned with using that power to improve the lives of people in front line communities-- economics justice, environmental justice, Climate Justice. The only way around the constant electoral cycles of trying to maintain a majority and the status quo is for progressives to be bold and fearless. All you have to loose is mediocre moderates pretending to be progressives when it's convenient and gain a better life for the communities you care about."
Joaquin Vazquez is the progressive taking on corrupt New Dem Juan Vargas in San Diego this cycle. "The answer to Biden's and the Democratic Party's very valid concerns about why they're loosing the youth, especially of color," he said, "is that they need to prove that they are actually coming through with reforms that they promised. Biden and party leadership are part of a bygone era in which there was less information in the public eye for voters to know what legislators and the president are actually doing, other than what they said they will do. Youth voters are getting sharper and bolder, and are electing bold progressive representatives who will not try to deceive them into voting for someone who will take us back decades and uphold the status quo ante. Biden won their skeptical support, just barely. Now that he is turning his back on the promises he's made, it's hard for the youth to believe anything he promises that gets even slightly close to his commitment to transform the country. With shameless remarks like that 'Fund the police!' comment at the SOTU, and his 'nothing will fundamentally change' comment, two clear backstabs that are hard to forget, I don't see the Democrats holding on to their majorities. If there's something that pisses off people to the level of feeling disillusioned and loosing trust in politicians, it is backstabbing and outright dishonesty, and Biden has shown how good he is at both."
Jason Call, running for the northwest Washington seat occupied by New Dem Rick Larsen, said that "As a candidate clearly running against the political establishment, but also as a Democrat, I have to field a lot of criticism about running within a clearly failing system. I’m told often that I’m running to support the political establishment just by having a D behind my name. Here’s the thing-- the voting electorate is still by and large stuck in binary thinking about how government works. I fully support a multiparty spectrum of electoral possibilities, that could have true representation and coalition building (as opposed to obstructionism) that would be needed to pass legislation. Of course, the status quo of both parties benefits from the duopoly and fear-based voting. However, I have a long history of working both inside and outside the party system, with 30+ years of independent-minded activism and nearly 20 years of direct Democratic Party involvement where I have challenged the establishment narrative and bucked leadership at every opportunity. The Progressive Caucus is currently failing at their supposed mission of pushing the envelope on policy, and being critical of the status quo. So candidates like myself have to get inside and be the new vanguard of progressive policy, we can’t afford to let those internal challenges backslide. It’s a political battlefield, always, and the new no-corporate money progressives right now seem to be the only chance we might have to force policy on climate, healthcare, housing, and foreign policy (to name but a few critical issues), because it sure seems like the Progressive Caucus is waving a white flag right now. As I’m speaking to local groups, my stark distinction is that the absence of corporate money allows me to speak freely and clearly about the policies we need to have a better future. The incumbent can’t do that and he knows it."
Please consider contributing to the grassroots campaigns being run by Jason, Joaquin, Ruth, Cristina and Daniel by clicking here or on the 2022 congressional thermometer above.