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Has Biden Become an Albatross Around the Democrats’ Necks?

Beto O'Rourke discusses his Texas gubernatorial campaign. Credit: Screenshot, CNN/Emoluments Clause YouTube

Are Democrats starting to distance themselves from President Joe Biden? It sure seems that way, and when one looks at his performance over his first year in office, it is not hard to see why.

During a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Texas gubernatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke appeared to be trying to distance his campaign from the president.

Media activist Dana Bash asked O’Rourke, an Irishman who changed his name to “Beto” to appeal to Latinos, if he would like President Biden to campaign with him in Texas.

“You campaigned for Joe Biden in 2020 after your presidential run came to an end. A recent poll shows that just 35 percent of Texans approve of his performance. Would you like the president to come and campaign with you?” she asked.

The totally non-Hispanic candidate responded:

“This campaign in Texas is not going to be about Joe Biden. It’s not going to be about Donald Trump. It’s not going to be about anyone from outside of our state. This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want.”

O’Rourke also discussed issues facing Texas, including the electricity grid issues the state experienced in February of this year. He said:

“I told you, they want the big things, like jobs, great schools, and making sure everyone can see a doctor, but they also want to see some confidence in their government. We had an electricity grid failure here in this state this year, though we are the energy capital of North America — millions without power, hundreds who unfortunately died during that disaster, and even afterward.”

The Irishman also lashed out at current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s handling of the storm, claiming he “has done nothing to protect this electricity grid,” and that Texans are “seeing electricity and natural gas prices continues to increase in Texas as ratepayers pay for the damage done by this governor.”

“Our governor has done nothing to protect this electricity grid, and you’re seeing electricity and natural gas prices continue to increase in Texas as ratepayers pay for the damage done by this governor. People in this state want change, and they’re focused on what’s happening here in Texas, not on what’s going on in the rest of the country.”

Bash pressed the issue, asking, “Does that mean you would prefer that he not come, based on what you just said?”

O’Rourke, who probably prefers shepherd’s pie over enchiladas, gave another non-answer:

“It means that I’m focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those Texans — those are the most important people. There’s no other politician or person outside of the state who can help change the course of this election for better or worse. That’s why I’m traveling to every part of this state, making sure that no one is written off and no one is taken for granted and that we keep the focus on Texas.”

Will this become a trend?

The Irishman can’t possibly be the only Democratic candidate who would rather avoid Biden, if at all possible. The fact that he obviously wants nothing to do with the president is telling. It appears the White House’s dismal performance in its first year has made Biden toxic to people wishing to win elections.

They can hardly be blamed, right? With the long list of crises the president has mishandled, it would be shocking if anyone wanted to be associated with him. His approval ratings continue to tumble downward with no sign of a reversal.

At this point, it is safe to say the president does not have what it takes to rebound in the polls, and with more people growing dissatisfied with his performance, it is no wonder Democrats wish to keep him at several arms’ distance.

But does it matter?

Even if Democratic candidates do not embrace Biden, his shadow still looms over the party. There is nothing they can do to make a clean break with the president, because he is still the leader of the party. It won’t make much of a difference if he does not campaign with people like Robert Francis O’Rourke, because he will still be on voters’ minds when it is time to go to the polls next year. At this point, President Biden has made himself yet another nail in the Democrats’ coffin when the midterms come around.