After the demise of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, Democrats are once again in a tough spot. The party is not in the position of trying to find something else to run on and their prospects are pretty sparse at the moment. It seems that at every milestone, Democrats are further realizing they are not going to fare well in November. Nevertheless, they are still trying to mitigate the damage.
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg told Politico that failing to pass even a watered-down bill might make it harder to retain control of Congress in November. “If this thing just goes away, you really do have a very different definition of the election,” he explained.
However, there are some who still believe it possible for the Democrats to pass something that might help them get back in the good graces of the electorate. Even though the Build Back Better Act appears to be dead on arrival, other Democrats insist there is still a chance. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates pointed out that each “major economic bill we’ve passed, like the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure law, has seen ups and downs and required doing the work while tuning out noise.”
On Thursday evening, Biden himself hosted Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the centrist Democrats who are stalling his domestic agenda, primarily to discuss voting rights measures. But consternation over even more gridlock is already taking hold on Capitol Hill, where for months Democrats have been frustrated with their colleagues for standing in the way.
However, other left-leaning politicians are concerned that Democrats might waste time and resources pushing for legislation that has little chance of passing. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) suggested that the party look towards a “Plan B” in lieu of focusing on Build Back Better. “I don’t want to see us get into a situation where we are trying to advance individual bills that, quite frankly, don’t have any chance of success. That’s the same thing as knocking your head against the wall,” she said.
Some Democrats are also expected to focus their messaging on the accomplishments they have already achieved like the infrastructure bill and the American Rescue Act. “We have to take this administration’s accomplishment and make sure the American people see, hear and feel them. We can’t dwell on what we haven’t gotten done,” said Bradley Beychok, co-founder of the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If we do, we’re going to have a very tough midterms.”
However, this probably won’t be enough.
The infrastructure and COVID relief bill are the only major pieces of legislation that Democrats have managed to pass, and it isn’t much of a selling point especially while everyday Americans are dealing with massive inflation and empty shelves due to supply-chain issues. Even Politico acknowledged Democrats had better come up with a viable messaging strategy quickly:
The prep work being done for a campaign season without the passage of BBB on the ballot is the latest indication that Democrats believe the legislative effort may never get back on track. It also underscores how little time is left for Democrats to make their sales pitch to voters. There is fear among Democrats that they have to start touting their victories before voters’ views on Biden and the Congress begin to truly harden.
The Democrats seem to be struggling to put together a viable game plan they can use to salvage their place in the federal government. But their failure to enact major legislation is going to weigh them down at every step. Combine this with the atrocious performance of the Biden administration, and the Democrats have a gourmet recipe for failure.
The left’s overreliance on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol seems to be the only real political weapon they have left, and they continue to cling to it for dear life. However, being that Americans are more concerned with kitchen table issues than what happened last year, this particular ploy won’t go too far. The best the Democrats can hope for at this point is that Republicans will do something so incredibly dumb that it eclipses their apparent ineptitude. But with the abysmal performance Democrats have given us over the past 12 months, even the Republicans would have a challenge snatching defeat from this particular victory.