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Highlighting messaging problem, Democratic strategists urge Biden to ‘sell, sell, sell’


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Question: What is one thing that former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have in common?

Answer: President Biden’s two most immediate predecessors in the White House suffered from negative poll results on the eve of their first midterm elections and both saw their parties lose control of the House of Representatives.

In November 2010, Obama’s approval rating was 4 points lower as Republicans rode a mighty Tea Party-fueled red wave to topple the House with a massive net gain of 63 seats, the largest seat change ever. in over 60 years.

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Fast forward eight years and Trump’s approval rating was underwater nearly 10 points on the eve of the 2018 midterms, when Democrats stormed back to reclaim the House majority through a pick -up of 41 seats.

President Biden announces a ban on Russian oil imports, increasing the toll on the Russian economy in retaliation for his invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fast forward another four years to today and Biden finds himself in similar negative territory.

The president sits at 45% approval and 54% disapproval in Fox News’ latest national poll, and the average of all the most recent surveys assessing Biden’s position that was compiled by Real Clear Politics puts him at 41%-53%.

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Midterm elections are often a referendum on the president and his record in power, and presidential approval ratings have long been a key barometer ahead of midterm contests. And that poses a problem for Democrats, who are trying to defend their wafer-thin House and Senate majorities in the November election.

With Americans just over seven months away from voting, Fox News reached out to some Democratic strategists and consultants for their advice on how the president can boost his numbers to help his party at the polls.

Longtime Democratic consultant Bill Burton identified a messaging problem for the president, telling Fox News that “President Biden was a transformative leader at a crucial time for our country and almost no American knows about it.”

“It’s really important to publicize what the president has done to revive the economy and pull our country out of the depths of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Burton, a veteran of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and the Obama White House.

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Democratic strategist Chris Moyer told Fox News that Biden “should go to the places where the most important races are and sell, sell, sell.”

The number of Americans filing for unemployment last week plunged to its lowest level in more than half a century, and wages are soaring. But the overwhelmingly positive economic measures are largely overshadowed by soaring inflation, including historically high gas prices.

Highlighting messaging problem, Democratic strategists urge Biden to ‘sell, sell, sell’

Display of fuel prices at a Shell gas station in Hercules, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The average U.S. gasoline price jumped above $4 per gallon for the first times since 2008, a clear sign of energy inflation that has hurt consumers since Russia invaded Ukraine.
(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Moyer, a veteran of numerous Democratic and statewide presidential campaigns, stressed that “the president should do whatever he can to bring down gas prices, which could include waiving federal gasoline tax.

Longtime Democratic consultant Jesse Ferguson said that “there is clear evidence that the economy is recovering and Democrats need to be relentless in telling that story. When people can get a job if they want and get paid more if they work, then clearly we can tell the story of an economy that is not yet frozen, but no longer floundering.”

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“Even though people are feeling very real anxiety, they need to see that the Democrats are stabilizing things while the Republicans would realize the worst fears of that anxiety,” said Ferguson, who has served on several assignments on the Congressional Campaign Committee. democrat. “Democrats can’t promise lullabies, just show people can get a good night’s sleep again while Republicans bring all their nightmares to life.”

Biden’s approval rating hovered between the low to mid-50s during his first six months in the White House. But the president’s numbers began to fall in August following Biden’s much-criticized handling of the US’ turbulent exit from Afghanistan and a spike in COVID-19 cases last summer. among people mostly unvaccinated due to the Delta variant.

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The fall in presidential approval, which continued last fall and into the winter, was also heavily fueled by soaring consumer prices and, to a lesser extent, the influx during of migrants attempting to enter the United States along the southern border with Mexico over the past year.

Highlighting messaging problem, Democratic strategists urge Biden to ‘sell, sell, sell’

FILE PHOTO: A group of asylum seekers from Mexico, Cuba and Haiti are detained by U.S. Border Patrol in San Luis, Arizona, U.S. April 19, 2021.
(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File Photo)

There’s always cause for concern once you get past the top lines of polls. Biden’s endorsement on most major issues — including the economy — is also well under water, and he’s seen deterioration with key voting blocs that helped put him in the White House in the election. of 2020.

“Who knows what the world will look like in the fall, but we should expect the economy and controlling inflation to remain a priority for voters,” noted Lucas Meyer, a consultant and Democratic activist based in New Hampshire.

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Meyer suggested shedding light on a new proposal from the president that was unveiled Monday in the administration’s 2023 budget proposal to tax America’s billionaires, saying “it can help Democrats go on the offensive to resolve the two problems”.

“It would only apply to a small fraction of people whose household wealth exceeds $100 million, and most of the income would come from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. That’s quite a proposition. common sense and very popular that simply asks the super-rich – whose wealth has exploded during the pandemic – to pay a tax rate closer to what firefighters, teachers, nurses and small business owners pay “, noted Meyer.

Highlighting messaging problem, Democratic strategists urge Biden to ‘sell, sell, sell’

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington, to applause from Vice President Kamala Harris and the President of the Nancy Pelosi Chamber of California. (Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)
(Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)

California-based progressive consultant Michael Cesaro pointed to Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1 – which was dominated by Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine – and expressed concern that “Democrats have issues with the State of the Union is a prelude to who we are as Democrats.” going to focus on.”

Cesaro, a veteran of Obama’s 2008 campaign, 2016 presidential Sen. Bernie Sanders and now transportation security. Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 White House bid suggested the president “kick off the election season by bringing together non-legacy organizations that focus on criminal justice, voter rights, education, health care and reproductive justice. And ask them what it can do for them.”

And he urged Biden to “stop pandering inside peripheral organizations that have little influence on electoral politics and for God’s sake, slowly move away from the rural-only white male strategy.” , otherwise we will lose in 2022 and 2024″.

But Cesaro also stressed that the president cannot fumble the ball abroad.”

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Jeff Link, a longtime Iowa-based Democratic and communications consultant, also pointed to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s deadly attack on Ukraine, urging Biden to “keep allied forces strong against Putin.”

Link, a veteran of numerous presidential and statewide campaigns, also urged the president to “get the money out of infrastructure quickly.”


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