Will voters stick with Biden outlook or take US another way?

Nov 6, 2022, 9:15 AM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 3:03 pm

President Joe Biden waves as he walks off stage after speaking at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania...

President Joe Biden waves as he walks off stage after speaking at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With his party’s control over Congress teetering on the brink, President Joe Biden has traveled the country this fall trying to turn the midterm elections into a choice between two visions for America. On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to stick with his outlook or take the country in a different direction.

Biden is dealing with difficult challenges in elections that will set the dynamics for the rest of his first term. Presidents tend to see their party suffer major setbacks in their second year in office, and in addition, Biden is saddled with a cloudy economic picture and the limits of his own popularity.

In the campaign’s closing sprint, Biden has tried to rely on a message that promotes his accomplishments — many of which will take years to be truly felt — and warns of the consequences of a GOP takeover of Congress.

Biden has tried to project resolute optimism about holding Congress, saying Friday that he feels “really good” about keeping majorities in the House and Senate. Advisers maintain that voters still broadly support the president’s agenda, even if they are down on the overall direction of the country because of inflation, gas prices and the sour tenor of political discourse.

A key question is whether voters will give Democrats more time to deliver on promised progress — infrastructure projects in the offing, drug prices that are promised to fall, climate change plans that are years away from being fully in place. Or will they turn elsewhere in search of more immediate solutions to top-of-mind economic concerns?

It didn’t help Biden’s cause that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin chose the weekend before the election to issue a blistering condemnation of Biden’s goal to eventually rein in coal energy. Manchin’s rebuke was a last-minute embarrassment that risked hurting critical Democratic campaigns in neighboring Pennsylvania.

Biden’s advisers insist the current political environment is far different from 2010, when Democratic candidates were hamstrung by the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law, and went on to lose 63 House seats and six Senate seats.

“Whether you’re in Arizona or you’re in Nevada, or you’re in Pennsylvania, all have Democratic elected officials that are communicating to their constituents, are talking about the things that they got done for the American people that are built on President Biden’s vision and what he’s accomplished,” White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon said at a forum hosted by Axios last week. “And that is a significant difference from other midterm seasons.”

In a sign of how Biden hopes his agenda may play out in time, that health law survived dozens of GOP-led repeal attempts and is now broadly popular with voters.

Cedric Richmond, the former Louisiana congressman and Biden senior aide who is now a top adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said it was important for Biden in the campaign’s closing days to reinforce to voters his accomplishments.

“One of the things I think that’s most important is that he continue to remind people of all the things that he’s doing to keep this country going in the right direction,” Richmond said. “We know there are challenges out there, but we’re meeting them and we’re not dividing the country.”

Even as Biden says he’s trying to bring the country together, he’s also warning about what would happen if Republicans win control of Capitol Hill.

“If we lose the House and Senate, it’s going to be a horrible two years,” he said Friday at a fundraiser outside Chicago.

He argues that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare, reverse Democrats’ cost-lowering efforts for prescription drugs and impose a national abortion ban. “The good news is I’ll have a veto pen,” Biden said.

White House officials say that even if Biden hasn’t personally been on the ground in some of the most contested states, he’s helped set up Democrats there for success by delivering a message that echoes around the country, no matter where he’s campaigning.

Advisers say Biden bears no ill will toward embattled Democratic candidates in Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Georgia who have tried to keep him at arm’s length. After 50 years in public life, they say, Biden recognizes that it’s often advantageous for the lawmakers to carve out their own identities distinct from the leader of their party.

Instead, Biden has turned out for lower-key, but equally competitive House races, where aides and candidates welcome the president’s ability to drive local news coverage.

For Biden, that’s meant more than two dozen political events to boost Democratic candidates since August, along with many ostensibly official events, such as the groundbreaking on a new technology manufacturing facility or a speech to promote plans to cut the price of insulin for older adults, that draw contrast with Republicans.

In fact, first lady Jill Biden has proved to be even more in demand than Biden in some places. She campaigned Saturday in Arizona with Sen. Mark Kelly and earlier in New Hampshire with Sen. Maggie Hassan, both in tight reelection races.

Over the summer, Democrats seized on the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in hopes of motivating women and the party’s core supporters. In recent weeks he has stressed his condemnation of “mega MAGA” Republicans — short for the 2016 Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.

He also has broadened efforts to contrast his agenda with the GOP’s to encompass what he views as Republican threats to democracy. That was the thrust of a speech Wednesday near the Capitol where he warned that some in the Republican Party were inciting political violence.

Republicans, in the closing days, have zeroed in on people’s economic concerns.

“Biden’s agenda has wreaked havoc on families trying to get by,” Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, said Friday. “Lower real wages, higher taxes, and out-of-control inflation have made it tougher for Americans to get ahead. In a few short days, voters will send a clear message that they have had enough of Democrats’ radical agenda.”

Some Democrats, already looking to cast blame ahead of the election, have been critical of Biden’s messaging, arguing he should have focused more intently on reassuring Americans about soaring prices.

“I hope there’s some people at the White House watching,” Faiz Shakir, an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told MSNBC on Wednesday hours before Biden’s speech. “I’d hope that they’re rewriting it and focusing on cost of living.”

Biden allies reject the argument, saying voters care about more than just one issue. They say abortion and the prospect of election-denying candidates help open the door to some GOP-leaning voters to go with Democrats.

Richmond, the former Biden adviser, said the president does talk about the economy and what he is doing to tackle inflation. “If a candidate can’t articulate that … that’s on them.”


Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

18 hours ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

1 day ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

1 day ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

2 days ago

Biden to require more gun dealers to run background checks....

Associated Press

Biden administration will require thousands more gun dealers to run background checks on buyers

New Biden rule to require thousands more firearms dealers across the United States will have to run background checks on buyers.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Will voters stick with Biden outlook or take US another way?