The New Politics of Bifurcation
The electorate tunes Biden out — and why it matters for November
The electorate tunes Biden out — and why it matters for November.
27 Aug 2022 ~~ By Matthew Continetti
The 2022 election grows more mysterious by the day. Republicans enter this cycle with the wind at their backs: President Biden is unpopular
, voters say we are in a recession, Democratic majorities are razor-thin, and midterms favor the opposition party. The issue set — inflation, border security, crime, and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan — is well-suited for Republican candidates. Many Democrats are retiring. GOP voters are enthusiastic. And did I mention the president is unpopular
Yet Democrats are increasingly bullish about their electoral prospects. They have closed the gap with Republicans on the congressional generic ballot
and lead the GOP for the first time this year. They are even or tied with Republicans in (admittedly spotty) polling averages of seven marquee Senate races
. Since June 24, when the Supreme Court overruled Roe
and restored abortion law to the political sphere, Democrats have outperformed their expected margins
in special elections. The reversal of Roe
has mobilized an important Democratic constituency: voters, especially women, with high levels of educational attainment. On August 2, Kansans dealt pro-life forces a setback by defeating a referendum that would have forbidden state judges from reading abortion rights into the state constitution. On August 23, Democrat Pat Ryan defeated
Republican Marc Molinaro in a closely watched congressional special election in New York. Ryan staked his campaign on preserving abortion rights. Molinaro focused on inflation. Voters had a clear-cut choice between the two parties’ messages. Abortion won.
Bifurcation works in paradoxical ways. The last two Democratic presidents had terrible midterms but rebounded in time for reelection. That might not happen with Biden. The electorate views him so poorly that it may be difficult for him to recover — and his job will be more difficult still if surprising Democratic strength in November deprives him of Republican foils in Congress. CNN’s July poll found that 75 percent of Democrats
want someone other than Biden to run for president in 2024. The most important number in the Pew poll was 35 percent. It’s the percentage of voters who say Biden is “mentally sharp
.” He’s not getting sharper.
The safe bet is that undecided voters will swing toward the opposition party in the closing days of the campaign. In this likely scenario, Biden’s dismal approval rating will bring down the Democratic congressional majorities. That, after all, is how the world works. And yet the world hasn’t been working as expected for the last six years.
When you have only one party, that party will use the state apparatus to persecute dissenters and cement its base.
The burning question: Who or what has neutered the Republican Party?
Meanwhile, Biden plays his role tagging Republicans as "almost semi-fascists"
Expect Maoist/DSA Democrat Commie campaigners to drop the 'Almost' tag.
Nonetheless, the actions of Biden and his handlers continued attack on Trump and his supporters sways the pendulum back to GOP.