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In the face of a tough midterm election ahead, inflation and high gas prices, Democrats say they need to do a better job of selling President Biden’s achievements to the American people.
As top priorities on Biden’s national agenda have died in Congress — namely the Build Back Better social spending plan and voting rights reforms — members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are taking stock of what Biden has made and is pushing a message of monumental accomplishment.
“We have a record – a record to be proud of, a program that addresses the biggest concerns here in America, in people’s lives, the message that resonates,” President Biden told the DNC faithful on Thursday. “And now – now what we have to do is we have to sell it with confidence, clarity, conviction and repetition.”
More than 400 DNC members crowded into Washington, DC, this week for their first in-person meeting since the coronavirus pandemic, though masks and vaccinations were required to attend. The mood was optimistic about the opportunity to reconnect and solidify messaging on how best to lead Democrats in the November election.
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“It’s just wonderful to come back and reconnect and see people you haven’t seen in a while and get you motivated again,” said Dakota DNC National Committee Member Deb Knecht. from South, “because Democrats who come together motivate each other. … I feel like we really needed it.
Although Democrats did not fully embrace Biden’s agenda due to opposition from his own party in the 50-50 split Senate, they sought to reframe the conversation by not looking back at what had not not been done, but by adopting and executing the priorities. who has succeded.
Top of the list are the US bailout, the major coronavirus relief and spending bill that passed a year ago with only support from Democrats, and the bipartisan infrastructure law that will help communities to rebuild roads and bridges and provide broadband access.
Despite inflationary pressures and high gas prices, which Democrats hope will improve before November, they have refined an economic message of record job growth and low employment.
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“It’s about taking ownership of the good work we do,” said DNC Seattle Area Member Rion Ramirez. “We’ve really accomplished a lot in terms of the US bailout. The economy is really strong. We’re turning the corner (on) COVID. I think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for us to go out and really beat the drum on the good work that has been done.”
If history is any indication, Democrats are poised for a tough midterm election season when control of the U.S. House and Senate hangs in the balance. The ruling party in the White House traditionally loses seats in Congress during of the first midterm elections.
Former President Obama suffered a self-proclaimed “shellacking” in 2010 after Republicans won a landslide midterm election and retook the House. In 2018, Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in former President Trump’s midterm elections when a new wave of Democrats were elected, many of them women, and re-elected Nancy Pelosi, D -California, Speaker of the House.
Biden is also mired in low approval ratings, inflation and an ongoing war in Ukraine.
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Democrats acknowledged that voters back home were grappling with price spikes on everything from gas to groceries, but sought to steer Biden away from the cause of inflation. Party loyalists have echoed the message from the White House that the pain at the pump is the result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the rising prices are a necessary sacrifice to keep up. alongside the Ukrainian people.
“I think on the Republican side there will be blame,” Georgia Democrat Lydia Glaize, a candidate for the state House of Representatives, said of the GOP blaming Biden for high gas prices. “But I can tell you from an American perspective that it’s not our fault. We know for sure that it’s in Russia’s hands.”
Floyd McKissick, Jr., a former state senator active in the Democratic Party from North Carolina, said it was “imperative” for Democrats to link the origin of inflation to the start of the pandemic and the global supply chain issues that happened on the watch of former President Trump. .
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“What Biden inherited was a ship adrift at sea that he had to follow on a corrective course to set things right,” McKissick said. “And I think he did a great job doing it.”
McKissick said rising gas prices might not hurt Democrats so long as long as people identify Putin as the cause.
“It’s a matter of perception,” he said.
Democrats also point out that Biden has the right policies to fight rising prices.
“The president has a plan,” DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison told Fox News Digital when asked about inflation. “Republicans don’t.”
Another message the DNC is pushing is to remind Democrats that what Biden has accomplished is far better than the GOP alternative.
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki spoke with the DNC Women’s Caucus and highlighted the gains made by women under the Biden presidency, including the historic appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t need to tell one person in this room that after the four years leading up to President Biden and Vice President Harris, the women of this country needed a lot of healing and a lot of repairs,” PSAki said.