The refusal of the Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi in the House, to come to the table to fashion a COVID relief package prior to the election played a significant role in late-deciding voters moving in the direction of Joe Biden based on the expectation that a more cooperative relationship between the Administration and Congress would lead to an agreement.
The last-minute failure to reach a deal in early January, which broke down over the size of the relief check to be sent to each family, contributed significantly to the GOP loss of both runoff contests for the Georgia Senate seats.
We are now three weeks into the Biden Administration, with the Democrats having functional control over Congress and the White House, and controversies over the COVID relief package that the Democrats have put together — and are threatening to ram through on a straight party-line vote — are showing signs of threatening the support of the same swing voters who ended up supporting Joe Biden in order to avoid this very situation.
Focus group analysis involving voters who switched from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 are overwhelmingly negative on the issue of including a $15 an hour federal minimum wage as part of the package. While Biden and the Democrats in Congress mostly support raising the federal minimum wage, Biden has suggested in his comments that such a provision might not be included in the package being discussed because it continues to face significant resistance. Two groups of such voters, seven in each panel, were recorded discussing this subject, and 13 of the 14 expressed negative reactions to the idea of a $15 minimum wage provision as part of the COVID package. The current minimum wage is $7.25, and most of the panelists were more receptive to an increase to the $9-12 range.
While a majority of the panelists do not wish to see Pres. Trump run again in 2024, they were also not supportive of the ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate. Nine of the 14 thought the trial was unnecessary and is only dividing the country further.
But their views of the conduct of the Democrats in charge of the government are not any more favorable. Only 5 of the 14 favored the current Democrat approach to bypass the filibuster rule to pass the COVID package along party lines with only 50 votes plus VP Harris. The others all want the Democrats to involve the GOP in crafting the final package, and gain votes from GOP Senators to make it a bipartisan effort.
Voters are “seeking unity from a president who promised it” and don’t want Biden to “ram through” a $1.9 trillion package on a party-line vote, said Engagious president Rich Thau, who moderated the focus groups.
This reaction reminds me of the disastrous path taken by Pres. Obama during his first two years in office. Mr. “Hope and Change” abandoned all pretense of working with the GOP. “I won,” he told the GOP minority members of Congress when the sides disagreed on certain specifics in the economic stimulus package proposed by the Democrats in January 2009.
That attitude ultimately carried through to a party-line vote to ram through Obamacare in December 2009. The Democrats were then wiped out 11 months later in the mid-term Congressional elections when the GOP recaptured majorities in both the House and Senate.
But the Democrat party isn’t fronted now by the fresh-faced persona of Barack Obama. Joe Biden is just a figure-heard who is not mentally capable to lead the Democrats on policy like Obama was. The tactical and strategic decisions on how to advance the Democrat party agenda are being made by others. Their mistakes are fundamental, and they never learn the lessons of history.
When you have 80 million votes who put your party in power, the voters making up the last 10-15 million of those votes are the ones you need to pay the most attention to. They are most likely to be unsettled by policy proposals that favor the extremes found in the first 65 million voters who have always been on board with everything you want to do.
The Biden Administration — led by Democrats in Congress and Obama Administration veterans on the White House Staff — seems willing to disappoint that 10-15% who put him over the top in order to reward the first 65 million voters by granting to them their policy wish list.
The “Green New Deal” and radical changes to the national energy policy in order to address “climate change” will be the Obamacare of 2021-2022. It is almost a religion to the adherents — an existential threat to mankind. Their crusade is to save the inhabitants of the planet from themselves. What could be nobler — or justify greater sacrifice?
But the practical implications of mandating alternative energy sources — an effort underway for 40+ years already — and imposing forms of a carbon tax on the lives of ordinary Americans are inescapable. Higher gas and fuel oil prices are a tax. They take money out of consumers’ pockets that could spend elsewhere by them if given a choice. We are shifting cheaper energy sources to malign overseas actors who will use it to gain greater economic prosperity at our expense.
And just as it happened in 2010, the Democrats will drive those 10-15 million swing voters who determine the outcome of elections back into the arms of the GOP.