Democrats have convinced themselves that their 'Build Back Better' spending spree is popular with the American people -- and in fairness, some polling has shown support for the overall package and various individual elements. Poll questions that include potential trade-offs, like tax increases and growing deficits, tend to yield far less enthusiasm, unsurprisingly. With Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Simena already blanching at the massive price tag (much higher than the manipulated 'score,' per CBO), inflation has now hit a nearly four-decade high. Advocates for the new tax-and-spend binge continue to risibly insist that it will cure what ails the economy -- and that the people cry out for it:
While the majority of the American people have expressed overwhelming support for the Build Back Better Act and delivering for working Americans, Republicans continue to oppose it.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 10, 2021
Maybe, just maybe, that’s why they have to resort to voter suppression.
First, I find it somewhat fascinating that a socialist like Sanders is so enthusiastic about a bill that gives massive tax breaks to millionaires while raising taxes on millions of middle class households. Perhaps it's not a huge shock because BBB still amounts to trillions in new spending and huge new government programs; the growth of government is the ultimate end for Statists. Second, voters turned out in huge numbers last month and sent a pretty clear message of opposition to the Democratic Party in Virginia and New Jersey. No "suppression" needed. And third, as for the "overwhelming" support Bernie references, let's review the latest numbers from NPR:
Democrats have staked their political future on enacting President Biden's plans for trillions in social spending, but a new NPR/Marist poll shows that most voters are skeptical of the party's proposals. Just 41% of the survey's respondents said they support the Build Back Better bill, the roughly $2 trillion bill currently being negotiated in Congress. Nearly three-quarters of all Democrats said the support the bill but only 36% of independents and 13% of Republicans agreed...survey respondents were less optimistic about the in-process Build Back Better legislation. Just 42% said they thought it would help people like them. While a clear majority of Democrats — 69% — said the policies would help them, just 36% of independents and less than 20% of Republicans agreed.
Nearly six-in-ten Americans oppose the Democratic proposal, with just 36 percent of independents in favor of it. An identical number of indies -- 36 percent -- believe the plan would benefit them. Seeing lopsided opposition from Republicans isn't much of a surprise in our polarized age. It's swing and unaffiliated voters who dictate where public opinion will come down, and the BBB reviews from this group are decidedly negative. When Manchin expresses deep hesitation about the whole enterprise, he's channeling most of the country. In addition to the toxic childcare provisions in the bill, it's pretty remarkable that this also made it into the House-passed legislation:
The truth is, when the chips are down, "moderate" House Democrats are instructed to salute by Nancy Pelosi -- and they do it. Relatedly, we've been following some of the terrible poll numbers battering President Biden and his party in recent days. ABC News offered yet another barrage yesterday:
More than two-thirds of Americans (69%) disapprove of how Biden is handling inflation (only 28% approve) while more than half (57%) disapprove of his handling of the economic recovery. Partisan splits for inflation show expected negativity in Republican views (94% disapproving), but the survey also reveals weaknesses from Biden's own party with only a slim majority of Democrats (54%) approving. Biden's orbit is also hemorrhaging independent voters, with 71% disapproving of his handling of inflation...The findings show Biden slightly above water in one sector: his handling of COVID-19. A slim majority (53%) of Americans approve of Biden's handling of the pandemic. Even so, Biden's COVID approval rating is now numerically at its lowest point in ABC/Ipsos polling since he took office, another warning sign for what might be a tough battle to maintain majorities in the U.S. House and Senate...Biden also sees lagging support for his handling of rising rates of violence in many places across the county. As the national murder rates see historic jumps, only a little more than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) approve of Biden's handling of crime, down from 43% in an ABC News/Ipsos poll in late October...only 38% of Americans trust Biden to negotiate on America's behalf with Putin, which is down from 49% in an ABC News/Ipsos poll in June.
"Hemorrhaging independent voters" appears to be a pretty consistent theme, which may be why POTUS just 'joked' the other day that he's stopped watching the polls:
When asked if Biden keeps track of polling numbers, the president jokingly told Fallon “not anymore,” Fox News reported.https://t.co/Q8JtgTW0S7— FOX21 News (@FOX21News) December 11, 2021
I mean, if you were in his position, would you want to pore over numbers like these every day? The White House has indicated lately that the administration plans to stay the course on their messaging, but Josh Kraushaar argues it's time for a major reboot:
NEW Against the Grain: "It’s Time for Biden’s Second Return to Normalcy Speech"— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 12, 2021
"His 2020 campaign message centered on returning to a post-Trump normal. Now for his party’s political future, he needs to sell Americans on a post-COVID normal."https://t.co/kjQSxejb3E
There’s no optimism in the administration’s public messaging, and little reckoning with the reality that as the disease begins to become endemic, without any politically pleasing “mission accomplished” moment ahead in the near term, the current muddled reality is something of a new normal. Like with other hot-button issues, the Democratic Party has been held captive by an affluent progressive slice of its base—who have been more insulated from the disruptive effects of COVID-related regulations—at the expense of the rest of the country. Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle spoke for this constituency when she told The Washington Post: “We’re never going to go back to normal. Personally, I don’t think I will ever get on a plane without wearing a mask.” Talk about a political downer...This adherence to COVID Zeroism has significant political consequences. As The New York Times’s David Leonhardt put it: “Many Democrats, both voters and politicians, have been almost blasé about the costs of Covid precautions—the isolation, unhappiness, health damage, lost learning, inflation, public-transit disruptions and more. … Society would cease to function if it tried to minimize every political risk.” This is a moment that screams for a course correction in the Biden administration’s approach to the pandemic.
On that note, I'll leave you with a compare-and-contrast between two Democratic governors' approaches:
Masks will be required in all indoor public spaces in New York State that do not require proof of Covid vaccination for entry, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced. The new requirement, which takes effect on Monday, comes amid a spike in cases. https://t.co/B2KA74M6w5— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 10, 2021
CO Gov. Jared Polis: No More Mask Mandates, #COVID19 "Emergency Is Over" https://t.co/1KzlOR4jLR— RCP Video (@rcpvideo) December 10, 2021
"Ask the governor why I'm sitting in a Denver-county gym that is full and I'm literally the only one wearing a mask after 470 days working on a Covid unit. Mask mandate now."
UPDATE - Another data point on Manchin's mindset:
WEST VIRGINIA poll, conducted by Remington Research (R) for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors:— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 13, 2021
“Do you believe the multi-trillion $
package being considered by Congress, known as Build Back Better Act, will:”
Make inflation worse: 64%
Decrease inflation: 14%