Politics

Americans should focus on Biden’s accomplishments, says chief of staff – live


Here’s the meat of White House chief of staff Ron Klain’s argument to American voters, as he put it to Politico:

“Elections are choices, and the choice just couldn’t be any clearer right now. Democrats have stood up to the big special interests. They stood up to the big corporations and insisted that all corporations pay minimum taxes, stood up to the big oil companies and passed climate change legislation. They stood up to Big Pharma and passed prescription drug legislation. They stood up to the gun industry and passed gun control legislation. Things that this city [was] unable to deliver on for decades because the special interests had things locked down, Joe Biden and his allies in Congress have been able to deliver on.”

The point of interviews like these is to get the administration’s message out ahead of November’s midterms, when voters will get a chance to decide which lawmakers they want representing them, and ultimately which party controls Congress. Considering Biden’s low approval ratings, the base case now is that Republicans have a good shot at taking the House, while Democrats seem favored to narrowly keep the Senate, though anything could happen.

The White House would, of course, prefer Democrats hold onto both chambers. If one falls into the hands of the GOP, the prospects for any major legislation getting through Congress become dramatically slimmer for the next two years. Klain and others seem to be hoping that two things will happen: either enough voters change their minds about Biden, or they divorce their dislike of the president from their opinions of Democrats on the ballot. It may be premature to say whether the latter is happening, but when it comes to the former, polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight does show the president’s approval rating recovering from something of a nadir reached in mid-July.

In closing, Klain offered this comment on Biden’s public profile, as compared to the previous White House occupant:

“I don’t think it’s true he’s out there less than his predecessors. I just think Donald Trump created an expectation of a president creating a shitstorm every single day.”

Key events

The supreme court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and abortion rights nationally may be driving a surge of women registering to vote, according to a political data firm.

Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, has tweeted a few thoughts on what he has observed among voter registration data:

Wow. I’ve been sharing data showing a huge surge in women registering to vote since the 6/24 Dobbs decision. I just started to look at some age and party breakdowns of those new registrants, and the numbers are jaw-dropping.

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 19, 2022

Starting in PA, where women have accounted for >56% of new registrants in that time period. Those women new registrants are 62%D to 15% R and 54% are under the age of 25. Compare that to men new registrants at 41% <25 and 43% D, 28% R.

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 19, 2022

I’ve seen some noting that the number of new regs we’ve seen since Dobbs is small relative to the number of existing regs (presumably to minimize what we’re seeing). That’s accurate, but variations in new registrant patterns are indicative of changes in intensity overall.

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) August 19, 2022

The firm has published a deeper dive into the data, with a focus on Michigan and Wisconsin, where the November elections could make a big difference on abortion care accessibility.

Remember Covid-19? The pandemic caused the United States’ biggest health and economic crisis in nearly a century and upended the 2020 election, but now appears forgotten in the public discourse – to many Americans’ chagrin, Maya Yang reports:

Despite signs that indicate the latest Covid-19 surge is slowing down, an average of 400 deaths in the US is still reported on a daily basis.

Various mask and social distancing mandates across the country are becoming anything but strictly enforced.

But as Americans and many of their elected officials go about their daily lives, many healthcare professionals still on the frontlines of the pandemic and severely affected Covid-19 patients are left wondering whether the rest of us are moving too quickly from the worst days of the pandemic.

Have we simply forgotten about Covid-19?

Data obtained earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that the rate of new infections has been decreasing, with the country reporting an average of 107,000 new cases a day. This marks a 12% decrease compared to infection rates two weeks ago.

A major corporate lobbying group has tried to convince Americans that it cares about the environment and climate change. But as Adam Lowenstein reports, its actions are not matching its words:

Three years ago today, in a statement that would be described as “historic”, “monumental” and “revolutionary”, America’s most powerful and politically connected corporations promised to “protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses”.

The “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” came from the Business Roundtable, an influential Washington DC lobbying group whose 200-plus members include the chief executives of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Apple, Pepsi, Walmart and Google.

Today, on the statement’s third anniversary, the Business Roundtable and its member CEOs continue to issue earnest statements about the climate crisis. But the organization is also working diligently – and spending liberally – to weaken efforts that would enable investors to hold companies accountable for their climate promises.

Back on the topic of whether voters are beginning to drift towards Democrats despite Biden’s poor approval ratings, The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter has today published a piece that looks at just that question.

It confirms that there are signs of a shift in voters’ perceptions, but that has less to do with Democrats than Republicans. “It’s not that voters think Democrats are doing better; it’s that they think Republicans are as out-of-touch as as Democrats,” according to the report.

Here’s more from the story:

For the last six weeks or so, the media spotlight has been off of Biden and focused instead on issues that put Republicans on the defensive, like abortion, January 6th and Donald Trump. That has helped to erode Republicans’ previous advantage as the party that is more in tune with voters’ day-to-day concerns.

“Each week that goes by, more and more people see the GOP as increasingly focused on the wrong things,” veteran Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson told me. “They’re focused on what ignites right-wing social media and what pleases the former President, not on what matters to the American people. It’s like a CEO promising to rehab a company by focusing on renovating the executives’ parking spaces.”

But that doesn’t mean the potent forces working against Biden have gone anywhere, or that voters are necessarily getting over the inflation wave that’s pushed costs up across the economy. It concludes with an anecdote:

Earlier this week, I was able to see how this match-up of messages might play out with voters this fall. At a focus group of white male swing voters, the moderator presented a list of Democratic accomplishments, including things like the infrastructure bill, the Recovery Act, and, of course, the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act. Also noted were low unemployment and strong job growth. When asked to respond, a man from Georgia replied, “I don’t disagree with anything here. But, I am paying double for lumber and groceries than I was three years ago.”

The Associated Press reports that Biden plans a summit next month to address gun violence and racism:

Joe Biden will host a White House summit next month aimed at combating hate-fueled violence.

The White House announced on Friday that Biden will host the United We Stand Summit on 15 September, seeking to highlight the “corrosive effects” of violence on public safety and democracy.

Advocates pushed Biden to hold the event after 10 Black people were killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in May, aiming as well to address hate-driven violence in cities including El Paso, Texas, Pittsburgh and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

“As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation ‘We must all enlist in this great cause of America,’” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

The Democratic spending bill Biden signed into law last week to fight climate change and lower health care costs also reversed years of underfunding at the Internal Revenue Service. The Guardian’s Joan E Greve reports on the Republican counterattack to the money, which relies on claims that are more or less false:

The picture that the top Republican painted was both vivid and terrifying. He warned that additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service would lead to armed auditors banging down front doors to squeeze hard-earned dollars from working Americans.

“Are they going to have a strike force that goes in with AK-15s already loaded, ready to shoot some small-business person in Iowa with these?” Senator Chuck Grassley said on Fox News last week.

The Orwellian image conjured up by Grassley bears little resemblance to reality. Democrats have indeed directed nearly $80bn to the IRS over the next 10 years as part of their climate and healthcare spending package, the Inflation Reduction Act, which Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday.

Here’s the meat of White House chief of staff Ron Klain’s argument to American voters, as he put it to Politico:

“Elections are choices, and the choice just couldn’t be any clearer right now. Democrats have stood up to the big special interests. They stood up to the big corporations and insisted that all corporations pay minimum taxes, stood up to the big oil companies and passed climate change legislation. They stood up to Big Pharma and passed prescription drug legislation. They stood up to the gun industry and passed gun control legislation. Things that this city [was] unable to deliver on for decades because the special interests had things locked down, Joe Biden and his allies in Congress have been able to deliver on.”

The point of interviews like these is to get the administration’s message out ahead of November’s midterms, when voters will get a chance to decide which lawmakers they want representing them, and ultimately which party controls Congress. Considering Biden’s low approval ratings, the base case now is that Republicans have a good shot at taking the House, while Democrats seem favored to narrowly keep the Senate, though anything could happen.

The White House would, of course, prefer Democrats hold onto both chambers. If one falls into the hands of the GOP, the prospects for any major legislation getting through Congress become dramatically slimmer for the next two years. Klain and others seem to be hoping that two things will happen: either enough voters change their minds about Biden, or they divorce their dislike of the president from their opinions of Democrats on the ballot. It may be premature to say whether the latter is happening, but when it comes to the former, polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight does show the president’s approval rating recovering from something of a nadir reached in mid-July.

In closing, Klain offered this comment on Biden’s public profile, as compared to the previous White House occupant:

“I don’t think it’s true he’s out there less than his predecessors. I just think Donald Trump created an expectation of a president creating a shitstorm every single day.”

White House sees Biden accomplishments as historic. Will Americans agree?

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Over the past year and a half of his presidency, Joe Biden has signed legislation to intended to curb gun violence, fight climate change, lower health care costs, promote semiconductor production and revamp the nation’s infrastructure. He’s also presided over the highest inflation rate since the 1980s and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, cratering his approval ratings. But to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, the focus should be on the former, not the latter. In an interview with Politico published this morning, he argues that Biden has made a historic impact comparable to Democratic predecessors like Franklin D Roosevelt and Lyndon B Johnson. Come November, we’ll see if voters believe him.

Here’s a look at what to expect today:

  • Biden remains on vacation, and is currently in Delaware.

  • Mike Pence, the Republican former vice-president, is visiting Iowa, an early kingmaker for presidential contenders.

  • If you’re wondering why it’s so quiet, Washington DC is usually this way in August. Not only is the president on vacation, but Congress is in recess and most lawmakers are back in their districts. They should return around the first week of September.





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