Flip: More adults identify as Republicans, giving biggest edge in 25 years.
President Joe Biden’s unpopularity has driven U.S. adults over to the Republican Party.
In the last few months, as Biden’s approval rating has sunk to as low as 33%, the party voters identify with has shifted a remarkable 14 points in the fourth quarter, from Democrats leading by 9 points to the GOP ahead by 5.
Democrats generally always lead Republicans in party identification, and independents outnumber both. By the end of December, the gap had shrunk, and even Gallup said the shift was notable.
“The year 2021 was an eventful one in politics, after a similarly eventful 2020 that also saw major shifts in party preferences. In early 2021, Democratic strength reached levels not seen in nearly a decade. By the third quarter, those Democratic gains evaporated as Biden’s job approval declined. The political winds continued to become more favorable to Republicans in the fourth quarter, giving the GOP an advantage over Democrats larger than any they had achieved in more than 25 years,” Gallup wrote in its analysis. “The final monthly survey of 2021 showed the parties at roughly even strength, although that still represents a departure from the historical norm of the Democratic Party’s having at least a slight advantage in party affiliation.”
White House scientific integrity panel draws its own scrutiny.
“The Biden administration’s push to bolster scientific integrity policies across federal agencies yielded its first report this week, but a co-chair of the report’s panel is facing her own questions from the scientific community about a recent research integrity ethics breach. . . . A co-chair of the White House’s Scientific Integrity Task Force, noted marine scientist Jane Lubchenco, is facing criticism for her role in a research paper retracted last year. . . . The paper on marine protected areas was retracted from the journal in October 2021 because the data underlying the analysis was not the most up to date and for violating conflict of interest policies. Lubchenco has a personal relationship with one of the authors (her brother-in-law) and collaborated with the authors on related research, ‘both of which are disallowed’ by the journal’s editorial policies, PNAS stated in its retraction statement.”
FAILED PRESIDENCY: AP: After Biden’s first year, the virus and disunity rage on.
“But the world also witnessed Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan, a chaotic withdrawal that brought more than 124,000 to safety but stranded thousands of desperate Afghans who had been loyal to the United States and hundreds of U.S. citizens and green card holders. Discounting warnings from military and diplomatic advisers, Biden misjudged the Taliban’s tenacity and the staying power of Afghan security forces that had seen crucial U.S. military support vanish. He then blamed Afghans for all that went wrong. Millions of Afghans face the threat of famine in the first winter following the Taliban takeover.”
The left dreamed of remaking America. Now, it stares into the abyss as Biden’s plans wither.
The uncertainty has become ever more urgent as Democrats weigh their campaign message in the 2022 midterm elections. Leading Democratic campaign officials have called for the party to revamp its message to avoid a wipeout in the midterms, forcing the party grapple with whether it will jettison the far-reaching ideas that helped define it now that Republicans appear in the ascendancy.
Long gone are the days when Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sparred across Iowa and New Hampshire over whose policy platform was most transformative, motivated by a sense that they had a chance to usher in a new era of American politics.
Instead, Warren, Sanders and the rest of Washington’s liberal policy apparatus sit by without recourse as Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) decide the fate of Biden’s Build Back Better Act — either by paring it back dramatically or defeating it altogether. Manchin and Sinema have final say over the Build Back Better legislation because Democrats have only a one-vote margin in a Senate evenly divided between the parties, which allows them to dream of change while having little room to actually achieve it.
The ossification of Biden’s legislative agenda underscores the long-term structural challenges facing the party’s left-flank, highlighting how difficult it will be to enact liberal policy change even with Democratic control of Congress.
Compounding liberal disillusionment is conservatives’ grip on the Supreme Court, which acts as a backstop against left policy change even if the obstacles to legislation are eventually overcome. The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration’s vaccination-or-testing requirement for the country’s biggest firms, a devastating blow to the White House’s efforts to fight covid.
The federal government’s uneven response to the pandemic has also exposed the lack of U.S. administrative capacity to implement new programs. And the reemergence of inflation this year as a defining economic threat — a policy challenge that liberals had not been preparing to confront — appears at odds with the left’s vision to usher in a new paradigm with transformational spending programs.