Democrats struggle to energize their base as frustrations mount


Ms Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats agree that a significant part of the challenge their party faces is structural: with small majorities in Congress, the party cannot pass anything unless the entire caucus is in. OK. This allows moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia to block some of the biggest promises made to their supporters, including a broad voting rights bill.

A more aggressive approach may not lead to the eventual passage of an immigration or voting rights law, but it would signal Democrats that Mr Biden is fighting for them, Faiz Shakir, close adviser to the senator, said. Bernie Sanders from Vermont. Mr Shakir and others fear that the focus on the two important laws – infrastructure and the spending bill – may not be enough to energize supporters skeptical of the federal government’s ability to improve their lives. .

“I am a supporter of Biden, a supporter of the agenda, and I am frustrated and angry with him for allowing this to go in the direction he has taken,” said Mr Shakir, who managed the race. Mr Sanders’ presidential election in 2020 “It looks like we have President Manchin instead of President Biden in this debate. “

He added: “It made the president weak. “

The gap in attention to convinced Democratic constituencies versus moderate swing voters is inspired by a political debate that has long rocked the party: Is it more important to energize the grassroots or persuade swing voters? And can Democrats do both at the same time?

White House advisers argue that winning swing voters, especially suburban independents who play a disproportionate role in battlefield districts, is what will keep Democrats in power – or at least reduce the scale of their efforts. mid-term losses. They see the decline among major Democratic groups as a reflection of a difficult political moment – rising inflation, continuing pandemic, uncertainty about schools – rather than dissatisfaction with the administration’s priorities.

“We are in November 2021, not September 2022,” said John Anzalone, Mr. Biden’s pollster. “If we embrace Build Back Better, we have a great message halfway through, when the bell rings on Labor Day, about what we’ve done for people. “

Even downsized from the $ 3.5 trillion plan Mr. Biden was originally seeking, the legislation that passed the House earlier this month features proposals transforming child care, child care, and child care. seniors, prescription drugs and college financial aid, and the biggest ever investment in slow climate change. But some of the more popular policies won’t be felt by voters until long after the midterm elections, nor will the impact of many infrastructure projects.


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