Washington Update - April 18, 2022

Billy Moore    Dc2

With just over 200 days until the November 8 general election, the likelihood of Democrats losing their majorities in the House and Senate is high and growing. Democrats look at their success in what should be indicators pointing in their favor and do not seem prepared to change the dynamic.

On substance, Democrats have a point: the coronavirus pandemic is receding, the economy and jobs are growing, oil and gas production is expanding, and President Joe Biden deserves credit for uniting world powers in support of Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion.

Although fewer than 1 in 10 Americans view the pandemic as a crisis, they want to forget the hardships it forced on families. Economic and job growth have sustained a record pace for several months, yet more voters think jobs have been lost since President Biden took office than those who think jobs have been created. And while domestic oil and gas production has risen, voters are convinced President Biden’s policies have reduced supply and are to blame for the rising price of gasoline. Despite the help, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy gets credit for his nation’s success.

Americans’ anxiety is focused on rising prices and immigration under Democratic rule. The overall rate of price increases rose 8.5 percent last month and there are few policy options to make a substantial dent in inflation between now and November.

The President and Democrats also are blamed for refugees and migrants crossing the southern border, despite having expelled nearly 2 million border crossers. President Biden doesn’t point to the expulsions because doing so would offend some of his supporters.

With congressional Republican centrists retiring and Democratic centrists likely to lose their seats, the outlook for 2023-2024 is for a more polarized Congress less likely to solve these daunting problems but more focused on partisan warfare.