The most chronic phase of the Covid-19 nightmare appears to be drawing to a close, with new infections and deaths drastically decreasing. But President Joe Biden and other Democrats are badly in need of a fundamental transformation of the political environment in the 12 months left to midterm, and that seems unlikely if the pandemic – and its cascade of anxiety economic – is still there in one form or another. There is nothing more fundamental to basic life and the sentiment of voters than buying food and gas.
But if the country brings the pandemic under control, inflation is lower, the job market is healthier, and store shelves are full, voters could be in a better mood by November 2022. If the virus circulates at low levels and there is no need for vaccine and masking warrants, Biden should be able to end past controversies that are helping to generate conservative fury – and bring Trump’s base to the polls.
A Biden adviser told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond after their poor performance in Virginia that if Democrats are to be active and can’t just run against Trump all the time, there is hope in the circle. from the president that the treacherous political environment could abate next year. The pandemic is on the decline and it is increasingly believed that Congressional Democrats will soon pass both the president’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending blueprint, the adviser said. Yet, with polls showing that many Americans are unaware of the latest plan’s funding mix for health care, education and climate change mitigation, the party must mount a major public relations campaign once. the measures adopted.
Biden has vowed to ‘end this’, but the pandemic is not over yet
But even as the worst national health crisis in 100 years begins to fade as a priority political problem, its threat is at the heart of many other influences that are shaping America’s ever-changing political map.
Many of the current brakes on the economy can be attributed directly to the crisis. Some Americans did not return to work or were late in doing so because they could not get child care when schools were closed. The peak of the Delta variant in the summer slowed the momentum of the recovery from previous infectious waves, and with the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan – another issue where Biden’s comments didn’t seem to match reality – a helped lower the president’s approval ratings.
Biden demonstrated a supply chain crisis resolution several weeks ago and secured a 24/7 opening at the Port of Los Angeles to help remove the saved containers from the docks. But he admitted in a recent CNN town hall that there was little he could do about gas prices, and his transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, recently told CNN that supply chain issues may persist. next year. Such comments hardly give the public the impression that the White House is focused on this issue on a daily basis – although such an effort could be as much a PR exercise as it is a decisive intervention that could solve the problems.
Youngkin’s well-run campaign in Virginia has exploited the void, highlighting the economic concerns shared by many in the state and, since Democrats control Washington, put his opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, on the defensive. The next Republican Commonwealth Governor is considering abolishing the tax on groceries. And even his education offensive – bubbling with implicit messages about race and transgender rights to appeal to Trump voters – got more buy than it could have due to parents’ frustration. during months of closures fueled by a pandemic. Youngkin also spoke out against vaccination warrants for schools and state officials. And the political toll of pandemic leadership – of being the face of restrictions and closures – may well have hurt Murphy in New Jersey, where turnout has been high in areas that oppose these measures.
“After nearly 18 months of anxious worry every time your child sniffles or starts coughing, well, now you can protect him from this horrible virus,” the president said at the White House.
The administration is under pressure to quickly and competently manage the deployment of childhood vaccines. As Thanksgiving and Hanukkah arrive too early for the two-dose vaccine to banish memories of last year’s grim holiday season, millions of American children could be fully protected by Christmas.
If history is any guide, however, a breakthrough in the public health offensive against the virus will spark another eruption in the partisan showdown that has prolonged the pandemic. The conservative media will be overflowing with misinformation about vaccines and government regulatory trials that say they are safe and effective for children. Multiple polls have shown millions of parents say they won’t let their children get vaccinated, even though vaccinations against other diseases are the norm for school attendance from a young age. A backlash would reflect previous hostility from conservatives over masking, vaccines and warrants throughout the pandemic, all of which have contributed to successive waves of infection and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The U.S. death toll topped 750,000 on Wednesday and many of those lost could still be alive if public health guidelines had been followed.
The controversy over children’s vaccines would also highlight that the president’s biggest obstacle in his quest to end the pandemic – or at least reduce it to an endemic threat rather than a constantly raging crisis – is posed by some Americans themselves. As Tuesday’s results show, ruling parties and leaders like Biden are ending up paying the price for the long and devastating economic and social half-life of Covid-19. And in some ways, Biden’s fate could be in the hands of voters most likely to oppose him next year – those most likely to ignore government public health advice. Voters can look to Republicans for the longer term if the fallout from the pandemic persists.