More Of Biden’s Loyal Supporters Are Beginning To Turn Their Backs
As President Joe Biden’s popularity among American voters is steadily declining, so is his sway among his fellow Democrats. A growing number of Biden supporters are disappointed in his handling of the border crisis, Afghanistan, and the Democratic-controlled Congress, where two key pieces of legislation furthering his domestic agenda are stalled because of party infighting.
Just days after saying that Biden was currently “unpopular” in Virginia, Sunday Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, who campaigned with Biden in northern Virginia less than three months ago, said he was “frustrated” with the president and Democrats in Congress.
“We have got frustration with Washington,” McAuliffe said in a CNN interview. “Why haven’t we passed this infrastructure bill? It passed the U.S. Senate with 69 votes two months ago. I have been very straight on television. We’re tired of the chitty chat up in Washington. Get in a room and get this figured out. … They’re paid to get up in Washington, get this done.”
Sarah Longwell, a moderate Republican strategist who became a strong supporter of Biden in 2020, told Politico that there’s a “malaise” among Democratic voters who don’t feel their lives have become better with Biden as president and that only a few blame Republicans for the mess in Washington, where Democratic Party infighting has stalled a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
Biden and Democrats in Washington “are in a morass of fighting with each other over bills that nobody knows what’s in,” Longwell said. “It just looks like a cluster.”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., a moderate Democrat who called for an immediate vote on the infrastructure bill, told the New York Times last week that Biden’s governing “doesn’t reflect the skills I know he must have from his years as a legislator.”
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., also recently criticized Biden over his presentation to Congress for infrastructure, calling it “disappointing” and saying he spent most of his time touting the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
“Well, if it’s not a priority for him, then maybe it’s just not a priority period,” Costa said. “It’s a priority for me.”
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., criticized Biden’s lack of participation early on in the negotiation process and said he was disappointed in his lack of connection with moderates.
“We’re kind of late to the party, a little disappointed,” Schrader told the Daily Beast last month. ‘They needed to be more vigorous earlier on, that hopefully, it’ll make up for here down the final stretch.”
Another argument within the party is Biden’s handling of the southern border, where there has been an overwhelming influx of immigrants.
“I will be very honest with you and tell you I am a little bit disappointed. I know that the President assigned responsibility for the border crisis to the Vice President,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Penn., said during a telephone town hall on Tuesday. “I’m a little bit disappointed I haven’t seen much in the way of results.”
Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a likely Texas gubernatorial candidate, criticized Biden for not foreseeing the migrant surge in a scathing op-ed last month for El Paso Matters.
“None of this should have been a surprise to our government,” O’Rourke wrote.
In the meantime, Biden’s average approval rating among voters has been on a downward spiral since June, dangling around 38%, the lowest yet. He’s seen the sharpest drop among independent voters, which could have major electoral implications.
Some Democrats say that a major legislative victory for Biden could turn those numbers around.
“On substance, the president’s programs are what people seem to want. Like everything else, it’s the sausage-making that’s causing problems with the polls,” Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., told Politico. “There are one or two [senators] that will keep him from getting to 50.”