Biden visits indecisive district to prop up agenda, Democrats - Africa News Quick
  • July 7, 2021

Biden visits indecisive district to prop up agenda, Democrats

President Biden’s visit to the Chicago suburbs on Wednesday was like several of his recent trips: to a politically competitive district where he could advance both his national agenda and his party’s prospects in next year’s midterm elections.

In Crystal Lake, Ill., A conservative enclave in the Blue State, Biden visited a lab and daycare at McHenry County College and spoke with a couple hundred people about his proposed federal investments in job training, community college costs, and preschool. . and childcare subsidies. He also put in a plug for the area congresswoman, a major Republican target.

“This woman here, hold on to her,” Biden said, looking beside him at Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood.

This was Biden’s third such visit to a House battlefield in eight days, as the White House has married the president’s summer sales speech for his infrastructure plans in Congress with the political work of Democrats before the 2022 elections.

He traveled last week to La Crosse, Wisconsin, represented by Representative Ron Kind, one of six Democrats who won last fall in congressional districts where former President Trump surpassed Biden. There he sought to build support for his bipartisan agreement with a group of Republican senators to invest $ 1.2 trillion over eight years in traditional infrastructure projects. And Biden spent Saturday celebrating the country’s progress against the coronavirus during a visit to a cherry orchard in Antrim County, Michigan, in the district of Rep. Jack Bergman, a Republican whom Democrats would love to topple after Biden. failed to win the title. area.

Former Rep. Steve Israel (DN.Y.), who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015, said Biden’s broad appeal makes him a political asset to his party: “When I was president, we had some National Democrats that ‘We would send to bright blue districts to speed up the grassroots and others we would send to purple districts to attract the moderates. Biden was effective in both. “

Biden’s appearances in swing districts, in Israel’s view, are crucial for Democrats to retain control of Congress, but only if he manages to sell his agenda.

“Democrats will keep or lose a majority based on their ability to win in some 16 undecided districts,” Israel said. “If a Democratic agenda is popularly viewed in those districts, they will hold onto the majority. Having a popular president with popular ideas appearing in those places is beneficial to everyone. “

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters Wednesday that the president’s visit to the Underwood district was “in part because [she] is a registered nurse ”and an advocate for the expansion of health care that Biden is seeking as part of his second“ human infrastructure ”proposal, which is opposed by Republicans.

In a speech at the university, Biden – “chief explainer,” he dubbed Psaki – said the federal government, by subsidizing two years of preschool and community college, would help working families and boost the economy in the long run.

“To really treat everyone right now, we need to invest in our people,” he said, in contrast to the tax cuts under the Trump administration that primarily benefited wealthy households and corporations.

And he was blunt about the benefits of extending a new child tax credit: “You’ll get cash.”

Biden has emphasized his commitment to bipartisan legislation even as he seeks to preserve his party’s shaky grip of power. The president and his team calculate that Biden, and Democrats in general, will benefit politically both from his apparent willingness to work with Republicans, a break from the tough partisanship of his predecessor, and from his ability to sell a broad progressive agenda.

“The things he’s talking about are already popular, and they’re even more popular when people don’t see them as a ‘Democratic’ or ‘Republican’ proposition,” said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity. .

Publicly, the White House has shelved questions about midterm elections, which normally don’t go well for a president’s party. When a journalist asked on Tuesday whether gasoline prices could “become a political issue that could be detrimental to the president and his party in the upcoming elections,” Psaki scoffed. “In 18 months, 17 months?” she said. “OKAY.”

However, the White House’s initial focus on pushing policies in key House districts reflects Democrats’ confidence in the popularity of their agenda, as well as their fear that losing control of Congress would greatly limit their power in the second half of Biden’s term.

“Most presidents don’t use the odd year, but Biden has changed the calendar,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who shares concerns that Republicans may win in 2022. “Democrats are going to have a hard time keeping the House and Senate, and there is no time to lose. “

Republican consultant Alex Conant called the 2022 midterm election “an escape” and said Biden was smart in making early efforts in competitive districts. “I don’t think anyone can predict what the problems will be next year,” he said. For Democrats, he added, “their best hope of maintaining their majorities is to start early.”

Jeremy Rosner, another Democratic pollster, agreed that forecasting the midterm elections is more difficult than normal. He cited unprecedented factors such as the waning COVID-19 pandemic and the fallout from the January 6 insurrection, as well as potentially strong economic growth, all of which could disrupt the historic trend of presidents seeing their party lose ground. in the midterm elections.

Rosner said he is not surprised that the White House is dismissing questions about the 2022 policy. “To talk about that would be negligent,” he said. However, he added, “Not thinking about it would be negligence.”

Biden’s trip also suggests at least paying attention to 2024 and his potential re-election bid. Saturday’s trip to Michigan was his third visit to the battlefield state since taking office.

Editor Chris Megerian contributed to this report.

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