The ongoing situation in Afghanistan is still dire for those trapped in Kabul. This is especially true for those who face retaliation from the Taliban, which is cementing its place of dominance over the region. Americans and Afghan allies of the U.S. military are desperately trying to escape from the country while President Joe Biden does not seem to have much in the way of solutions.
It is still too early to see how this situation will unfold. There have already been casualties at the Kabul airport, and with the August 31 deadline to complete the withdrawal of troops steadily approaching, it is difficult to be optimistic about how this situation will turn out.
But one question that this raises is: How will this affect Democrats in the upcoming midterm and presidential elections?
To put it simply: It certainly won’t help.
However, it seems the left is still holding on to hope that Biden’s latest screwup won’t affect their chances of remaining in power. Indeed, Time Magazine’s Alana Abramson wrote a piece exploring this particular issue. She writes:
As the U.S. looks ahead to the 2022 midterm elections, and even the 2024 presidential election, these two simultaneous events illustrate the dueling narratives voters will be fed. Biden’s allies will point to his achievements in helping the nation recover from a once in a century pandemic that spawned an economic crisis, hoping that voters will care more about that than a controversial move abroad.
GOP pollster Frank Luntz indicated that if the situation in Afghanistan gets worse, it could spell disaster for the administration. He pointed out that “the American image and reputation abroad is taking a hit every single day.”
The pollster also intimated that the damage this fiasco has done to Biden might depend on how Afghans fare under Taliban governance. He said:
If Americans don’t start dying again because of terrorism, [voters] may forget. If women aren’t aren’t thrown back to the Stone Age, [voters] may forget. It’s really up to what the Taliban decides to do. But based on past history, I’m not optimistic about the future.
The Atlantic’s Peter Nicholas also opined on the issue in an article in which he acknowledges that the Biden administration is hoping the public forgets about this debacle in time for the 2024 presidential election. He writes:
Despite the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan, White House officials and people close to Biden don’t foresee his decision hurting Democrats in next year’s midterm elections, nor in the presidential race that follows. Their argument is that the nation should be reassured that a president who vowed during the 2020 campaign to end “forever wars” made good on the promise.
Ted Kaufman, a close Biden confidant, and former Delaware senator said the fact that “our troops are out” of Afghanistan will be a “key point” for American voters. He continued:
It’s fine for us to sit in Washington and talk about what’s wrong in Afghanistan. We’re not bearing the brunt of this war. It’s another thing if you have a son or daughter or father over there.
This sounds like a lot of wishful thinking.
For starters, the possibility that Americans – with our notoriously short attention spans – would forget how abysmal Biden’s performance has been on this issue is real. It could happen.
On the other hand, it seems more likely that while the issue may not be fresh in Americans’ memories, Republicans – if they are smart – will continually remind the nation about how badly this situation was handled. Indeed, if they manage to regain control of one or more chambers of Congress, they could do what the Democrats are currently doing with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
GOP lawmakers could seize on Biden’s failure by launching investigations into the matter to keep it in the public eye. In this way, despite the criticism, they will inevitably get from the left, they can ensure that the public does not forget the kerfuffle.
Moreover, it is important to note that those believing that Biden’s “accomplishments” will outweigh this calamity might be disappointed in 2022 and 2024. Indeed, the president has been in office for over seven months and hasn’t gotten much done. Sure, he got the COVID-19 legislation passed and stands a good chance of pushing through infrastructure.
But other than that, what else does he have?
At this point, it does not seem likely that this president will have any more significant legislative victories due to the Democrats’ slim majorities in Congress. Moreover, the far-left socialist wing of the party, along with Republicans, are not going to make it easy to pass any meaningful legislation.
Then, there is the fact that Afghanistan is not Biden’s only failure. The president has mishandled several different problems facing the nation. Indeed, despite not even being in office for a year, he has created arguably the worst migrant crisis in America’s history, brought about severe inflation, and is struggling to deal with the new Delta variant. Afghanistan was yet another catastrophe that he does not need. These don’t even include the mishaps the administration will cause in the future.
Finally, it is already apparent that the American public does not view Biden’s handling of Afghanistan favorably. Indeed, a recent poll found that almost 75 percent of Americans believe he is performing “badly” when it comes to facilitating the removal of troops.
The failed withdrawal by itself would not fatally damage the Democrats’ chances for success in the upcoming elections. But it is definitely another nail in the coffin. In fact, if the administration’s current trajectory is any indication, there will be more nail than coffin come 2024.