Joe Biden and the Democrats are getting back on their feet after coming close to a K.-O.


The American expression «When it rains it pours» (which can be translated as “a misfortune never comes alone”) would have been perfect to describe the situation in which Joe Biden found himself at the beginning of the summer. With a galloping inflationthe challenging women’s rights, speculations around his succession, a stalled political program and the continuation of the war in Ukrainethe storms followed one another over the head of the man who, two years earlier, had promised to rebuild and appease America.

After a first year of mandate partly hailed by analysts despite a stalemate in recent months and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistanthe Democratic president probably did not imagine having to face this chain of internal and external crises when he turned the first page of the year 2022. Sometimes helpless, sometimes misunderstood, Joe Biden no longer had his hand and appeared caught in an endless whirlwind, gradually dragging his administration and his majority into a record unpopularity just five months away from all-important midterm elections.

But after the rain comes the good weather. To everyone’s surprise, the situation has been reversed for a few weeks. The tenant of the White House and his family are coming back in force and repositioning themselves for the next election. If meteorologists maintain a low confidence index, the skies of Washington are clearing little by little. The clouds are now giving way to the first rays of sunshine of the year, and the hitherto dull faces of the members of the Democratic family are regaining color.

Will that be enough to allow the president to retain his majority in Congress? Not sure, but the Republican tidal wave announced for months should be much less important than expected.

Abortion, a hot topic for Republicans

The Supreme Court’s challenge to federal abortion rights protections is undoubtedly a major victory for the conservative camp, which has fought for nearly half a century to overturn from famous case Roe v. wade. By passing the buck to the States, the country’s highest judicial institution has effectively created two americas and put millions of women in difficulty. Above all, it provoked a wind of anger in a large part of the population; although this has not particularly manifested itself in the streets, it could be felt at the polls next November.

This decision even seems to be a real poisoned gift for the Republican Party, the news of which the majority of voters and elected officials celebrated last June. It was in Kansas, a right-wing land on which Donald Trump won in 2016 and 2020, that this possibility first materialized on August 2. The public was invited to decide by referendum on a modification of the local Constitution, which would have opened the way to a drastic restriction of the right to abortion. The vote came as a bombshell: By voting 59 percent against, residents sent a clear signal to the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Everything went wonderfully well for Joe Biden and the Democrats at the end of July.

Above all, it appears that the subject has mobilized the electorate, which is enough to frighten the analysts and candidates of the Grand Old Party because it is a sign that abortion could well be a formidable campaign theme to convince the independents, oh so essential to winning an election, to choose the candidates Democrats on November 3. So if the cultural battle has been won by the conservatives thanks to the Supreme Court, the political price to be paid remains one of the unknowns of the next elections. And the Democratic Party seems determined to drive up the bill.

Significant political victories

Everything went wonderfully well for Joe Biden and the Democrats at the end of July, beginning of August. A few days before the encouraging result from Kansas, Congress passed the CHIPS Acta major law intended to boost the production of semiconductors in the United States and to stimulate innovation, with the key to more than 50 billion dollars (or 50 billion euros) of investments in the direction of the American high-tech industry.

In the aftermath, the United States announced the death of the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, following a drone strike on an apartment in Kabul. Wanted for more than ten years, the successor to Osama bin Laden was one of the masterminds of the September 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States. It was then the fruit of a new legislative victory that came to appear on the President’s desk: the signing of a law, le PACT Actto compensate access to healthcare for former soldiers exposed to toxic fumes.

But the adoption by Congress of a historical plan for climate and health, the Inflation Reduction Act, wanted by Joe Biden since he entered the White House, is undoubtedly the peak of this sequence and one of the most significant moments of his presidency. Signed on August 16, this law is an extremely important victory for the Democratic camp three months before the intermediate elections. Above all, it puts the United States back at the heart of the fight against global warming with nearly $380 billion in investments over the coming decade, and should enable the world’s leading power to come closer to the commitments made during the signature of the Paris agreement.

The possibility of maintaining a majority in at least one of the two chambers of Congress has increased over the past two months.

Finally, to end the summer in style, a partial cancellation of the american student debt has been decided by the White House (10,000 dollars per borrower whose annual income does not exceed 125,000 dollars), as well as the extension of the suspension of the payment of this one until January 2023. A measure which should allow millions of modest Americans to see their indebtedness suddenly reduced. Joe Biden promised it during the campaign, he did it.

The message sent to voters is clear and could be translated as follows: “We are taking action while our opponents are bogged down in scandals, vote for us.”

A bright spot in the polls

These various victories, combined with a continuous fall in prices gasoline and a possible slowdown inflation, offer a breath of fresh air to the tenant of the White House and to his majority. Despite the recession risksthe unemployment rate remains at a historically low level, which tends to reassure observers about the state of health of the American economy. The president’s popularity rating is on the rise again after several months of plummeting, and has just risen above 40% according to survey aggregator FiveThirtyEight.

This same institute, which also produces prediction tools for the various national elections and in particular the mid-term elections, makes it possible to materialize this good dynamic. The possibility of retaining a majority in at least one of the two houses of Congress has increased over the past two months. The model now gives 62% chance for Democrats to maintain or increase their dominance in the Senate, compared to 50% at the end of June.

In the House of Representatives, the figures are also improving, but remain too low (21%) to consider a reversal of the situation today. However, hope is once again present; pollsters no longer rule out a surprise. What re-motivate the troops after nearly a year of depression.

Can Joe Biden continue to reform the country until 2024? See you in early November to find out.


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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