In interviews, dozens of frustrated Democratic officials, members of Congress and voters expressed doubts about the president’s ability to rescue his reeling party and take the fight to Republicans.
By Reid J. Epstein and Jennifer Medina, The New York Times
June 11, 2022
Midway through the 2022 primary season, many Democratic lawmakers and party officials are venting their frustrations with President Biden’s struggle to advance the bulk of his agenda, doubting his ability to rescue the party from a predicted midterm trouncing and increasingly viewing him as an anchor that should be cut loose in 2024.
As the challenges facing the nation mount and fatigued base voters show low enthusiasm, Democrats in union meetings, the back rooms of Capitol Hill and party gatherings from coast to coast are quietly worrying about Mr. Biden’s leadership, his age and his capability to take the fight to former President Donald J. Trump a second time.
Interviews with nearly 50 Democratic officials, from county leaders to members of Congress, as well as with disappointed voters who backed Mr. Biden in 2020, reveal a party alarmed about Republicans’ rising strength and extraordinarily pessimistic about an immediate path forward.
“To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality,” said Steve Simeonidis, a Democratic National Committee member from Miami. Mr. Biden, he said, “should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.”
Democrats’ concerns come as the opening hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol made clear the stakes of a 2024 presidential election in which Mr. Trump, whose lies fueled a riot that disrupted the peaceful transfer of power, may well seek to return to the White House.
For Mr. Biden and his party, the hearings’ vivid reminder of the Trump-inspired mob violence represents perhaps the last, best chance before the midterms to break through with persuadable swing voters who have been more focused on inflation and gas prices. If the party cannot, it may miss its final opportunity to hold Mr. Trump accountable as Mr. Biden faces a tumultuous two years of a Republican-led House obstructing and investigating him.
Most top elected Democrats were reluctant to speak on the record about Mr. Biden’s future, and no one interviewed expressed any ill will toward Mr. Biden, to whom they are universally grateful for ousting Mr. Trump from office.
But the repeated failures of his administration to pass big-ticket legislation on signature Democratic issues, as well as his halting efforts to use the bully pulpit of the White House to move public opinion, have left the president with sagging approval ratings and a party that, as much as anything, seems to feel sorry for him.
That has left Democratic leaders struggling to explain away a series of calamities for the party that all seem beyond Mr. Biden’s control: inflation rates unseen in four decades, surging gas prices, a lingering pandemic, a spate of mass shootings, a Supreme Court poised to end the federal right to an abortion, and key congressional Democrats’ refusal to muscle through the president’s Build Back Better agenda or an expansion of voting rights.
Worries about age, and a successor
To nearly all the Democrats interviewed, the president’s age — 79 now, 82 by the time the winner of the 2024 election is inaugurated — is a deep concern about his political viability. They have watched as a commander in chief who built a reputation for gaffes has repeatedly rattled global diplomacy with unexpected remarks that were later walked back by his White House staff, and as he has sat for fewer interviews than any of his recent predecessors.
“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s two winning presidential campaigns.
“Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House,” Mr. Axelrod added. “And part of the reason he doesn’t is performative. He looks his age and isn’t as agile in front of a camera as he once was, and this has fed a narrative about competence that isn’t rooted in reality.”
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/11/us/p ... crats.html
asking that you re-elect them so they can keep their jobs. Never forget what they've done to you.