Real Clear Politics Averages:
- Biden: Favorable 43.3 Unfavorable 52.7
- Trump: Favorable 44.0 Unfavorable 51.6
- Generic Congressional Vote: Democrats: 41.5 Republicans 44.3
Although it can be argued that Joe Biden has actually done a fairly good job as President, you can’t convince most voters of that. After a pretty good honeymoon in early 2021, it appears that most voters have made up their minds about him—and it’s not good. Two critical errors last year (prematurely declaring victory over Covid, and botching the withdrawal from Afghanistan) dropped him into unfavorable territory, and surging inflation this year has kept him there. At this point, nothing short of a miraculous easing of inflationary pressures can rescue him, and it’s quite possible that even that unlikely event would gain him no credit.
Biden must not be the Democrats’ candidate for president in 2024. He keeps insisting that he’ll run, but that may just be to avoid becoming a lame duck. If he keeps running after the midterm elections this November, he needs to be challenged. We cannot have a candidate with unfavorable ratings even worse than Trump’s. We need someone at least a generation younger, preferably female, preferably Latina or African American, to maximize the appeal to those demographics.
Democrats’ prospects in the midterms this year are not as bad as conventional wisdom suggests. The generic congressional vote averaged cited above suggests a relatively close vote for the House; Democrats could conceivably hold their House majority, and if they lose it, the new Republican majority is likely to be small. The Senate has to be predicted based on the individual races. Democrats look likely to pick up seats in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but they risk losing seats in Nevada and Georgia. But no Democratic incumbent is decisively behind at this point.
Mental health note for Democrats: loss of majorities in the House or Senate this year might actually increase Democratic chances in 2024. That’s because swing voters who voted GOP to protest inflation, for example, would get to see what a Far Right Republican Party would actually propose. But they wouldn’t be able to implement their proposals because Biden (or Kamala Harris) would still be President.
The Republican tendency to nominate candidates from the extreme Right Wing is firmly established: that’s why they stand to lose races that should be winnable for them (like the Pennsylvania Governor and Senate races). Conversely, the Democrats’ Left Wing is weaker: they produce ideas that the party may later adopt, but they tend not to win primaries except in places like Boston or New York City.
So, it’s bad, but it could be worse. Just wait.