American voters think the Dems are wimps.
This problem has been building since the Obama administration, but it has become an ominous cloud over Biden’s re-election efforts in the Trump era.
Hillary Clinton exemplified the wimpiness factor best when she responded to attacks from Trump Republicans. At the time, she wimply said, “When they (the Republicans) go low, we go high.” Big mistake. Going “high” is a sign of wimpiness.
Other political commentators have noted the Dem’s pathetic unwillingness to fight Trump by saying, “The Dems bring a knife to a gunfight,” which is another way of saying Dems are wimps and bound to lose.
The Dem’s wimp factor became more significant because the Trump metal case juggernaut of constant lies, fake charges, bellowing, endless lawsuits and trials, and the constant messaging of a deranged thug gives voters a non-stop greasy political wrestling match that energizes aggrieved Republican voters even if they don’t know what they are dissatisfied about.
Moreover, Republicans repeat Trump’s rabid messages at the state and local levels, where the House conducts endless investigations focused on Democrat “corruption.”
So where are the Dems when the Republicans focus on Hunter Biden’s relatively minor tax, drug, and gun problems, compared to the nepotism of Jared Kushner, Trump’s daughters, who made billions when Trump was in the White House?
They are nowhere to be found.
Jared Kushner’s $2 billion contract with the Saudis is hundreds of times larger than Hunter Biden’s tax problems, but the Dems fail to make the comparison.
The wimp factor, accompanied by lousy messaging, are the main reasons a recent September 2023 CNN poll found that Biden is “not getting credit” for his substantial legislative accomplishments “despite efforts to parlay historic jobs data and a dip in inflation as a great success.”
Bidenn’s surrogates have also failed to capitalize on Trump’s criminality. Aside from the standard “innocent until proven guilty” boilerplate disclaimer, Harris and others in the Senate have failed to drop the legalese and high-brow constitutional issues and make Republican corruption an issue that everyday Americans can understand.
In simple terms, the message should be “The average American would never get away with tax evasion, rape convictions, non-payments to creditors, and lying on the job, so why should wealthy Republicans?”
Americans are not the smartest people, but they certainly recognize abuses to the justice system and that rich people are never prosecuted for the same offenses that would affect average work-a-day people.
Aged Politicians Are Not Popular
But then there is the obvious issue: Biden is an 80-year-old (he turns 81 in November) and is running for a new four-year term as president.
“The poll leaves an indelible impression that Biden’s age – and a sense that he is far less robust in mind and body since he took office – overshadows his achievements. Only 26% say he has the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as commander-in-chief. And 76% of Americans say they are seriously concerned his age could affect his ability to perform a full term if reelected.
Then there is the weak link in the Biden administration, Vice President Kamala Harris, who essentially vanished during the past two years as the unresolved issue of Biden’s age and lousy Democratic messaging accelerated. Harris could have been more visible, but her absence was a mystery and caused voters to focus on Biden’s age problem.
In any new administration, voters would examine Biden, Harris, age 58, who could have helped fill the void if she had not been such a weak politician and timid political presence.
So, where does the blame lie?
Let’s start at the White House. Biden is reportedly dissatisfied with Harris and, for the past two years, gave her some problematic jobs of explaining bad policies and essentially sidelining her.
Biden’s mistake was that he chose the wrong VP and ignored her during his presidency. Maybe he thought his age would not be a problem with voters. But, Biden’s weak vocal deliveries in speeches and his stiff walk only accentuate his age.
All this is more stark considering Trump’s authoritarian presence, which covers up his age (77) and sociological behavior. When voters see Trump and Biden side-by-side, Trump presents more frenetic energy, and he is a better, more forceful speaker even when he lies incessantly. However, given his popularity, Republicans prefer a fascist authoritarian’s message to anything logical, legal, or ethical.
The Invisible DNC
The problem is with the DNC. The organization is not transparent, shows no leadership, and has a terrible record of mobilizing Democrat voters. Their strength is fundraising at the national and local levels, but funds raised for local races are not necessarily used to elect Democrats locally.
The DNC had been neglected and mismanaged before. The DNC was better funded and more aggressive in the Bill Clinton era. But Barak Obama, who avoided a fight with Republicans whenever possible, “neglected (the DNC) and left (it) to atrophy,” according to a report in the Washington Post. In that same article, a Washington insider said
“The DNC has not played any dynamic role except on a rare occasion since Obama was president.”
Due to neglect and underfunding, the DNC had insufficient polling data, which the Hillary Clinton campaign used as a base. This helps explain why she lost Florida, North Carolina, and the Upper Midwest to Trump. Clinton’s arrogance was cited as a reason for her loss.
The other problem is that the head of the DNC is the president, so if Biden is too preoccupied with other national and international issues, including managing rabid mental cases in the Republican House majority, he understandably cannot handle the DNC. This allows it to go into low gear or be riddled with patronage.
Clinton’s loss can be tied to her campaign manager, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz (D-Fla.), a sharp-tongued woman, who forgot to instruct her highly-paid political consultants that the electoral college votes determine the winner in a presidential race.
Wasserman-Schultz, probably under the direction of Clinton, also focused more vehemence on progressive Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign than she did on Trump’s. Clinton hates the progressive wing more than she did Trump.
Still, Sanders’ very popular messages—the need for higher wages, corporate greed, fixing income disparities, having millionaires pay larger tax bills, and workers’ rights—offended Clinton and her husband’s neoliberal corporate backers. Not surprisingly, Trump stole Sanders’ themes, who recognized their appeal to a broader audience.
The Democratic Party’s antipathy towards the progressive Sanders message is very similar to how wealthy U.S. capitalists (such as Henry Ford, Averill Harriman, Joe Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh, John Foster, Allen Douglas, Walt Disney, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Kodak, GE, Dow Chemical) did business during World War II with the Nazis. This class considered the communists a greater threat to their livelihoods than the Nazis.
The capitalists considered the communists a greater threat than the Nazis since they would do business with the Nazis, but not communists who engaged in class warfare. Similarly, the Clintons regard the progressives as a group that would curtail the power of the wealthy U.S. donor class, who are the backbone of neoliberal Democrats.
Kamala Harris: The Invisible Woman
Then, there is the most significant weak link, Kamala Harris. In an interview regarding the CNN poll that showed Biden’s falling popularity, “Vice President Kamala Harris waved away concerns about the president’s age in an interview released Thursday morning, telling CBS News, “Joe Biden is going to be fine.”
Harris must be a fortune teller because no one can say anything about the healthy future of an 80-year-old person. Harris’ remarks also buttress the fundamental problem that she is a lousy vice president. If Biden’s health deteriorates or dies, Harris is an unknown political factor to all Americans.
Harris has no political presence. Yes, she is vocal on women’s rights and abortion, but those are issues handed to her by the Supreme Court. She is a weak public speaker and doesn’t seem to have a mastery of the facts or issues. Aside from a sharp retort to Biden during the 2019 presidential debates, she hasn’t said anything memorable in four years. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, seems to get more visibility than his wife, the vice president.
Otherwise, Harris stands for nothing, as do too many Democrats in the House and Senate. Unless there are canned messages from the DNC that most Dem representatives can cut and paste into their constituent newsletters, they don’t champion any issues that gain national attention.
This explains why a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls found that Harris has an even lower favorability rating than Biden. This means 41% of the public approves of her work versus 42% who approve of Biden.
An Indecisive and Moody Obama
Contrary to the public persona of Obama as decisive, he was an insular leader who made decisions by himself, often without input from his cabinet or experts. In the book, Leading from Behind, by Richard Miniter, Obama is described as an inexperienced leader who “never led a campaign to pass a controversial piece of legislation. He rarely, if ever, had to compromise, coach, or cajole. In his entire career, he flew solo, with the counsel of a handful of advisors.”
As a result, Obama had some spectacular failings: he canceled the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden and then made an intelligence mistake that allowed top leaders of the group to escape; Baby Pelosi was the author of ObmamaCare, not Obama because he lacked the high-powered political negotiation skills that she had; Obama killed a secret budget deal with House Speaker John Boehner that would have reformed the entitlement program, cut spending and the budget, without raising taxes.
Obama also naively said that there were no red or blue states, only one nation. And this was after the entire top Republican leadership in 2020 said their goal was to paralyze the Obama agenda.
“We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can,” John Boehner said. This was emphasized by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who summed up his plan to the National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” according to Politico.
Wimpiness Has A Price
Aside from his paramount achievement of killing Bin Laden, Obama’s weak leadership style and a tilt towards compromise with the intransigent Republicans can be viewed as wimpiness.
So, as the November 2024 election approaches with Biden and Harris as the resumptive nominees, the wimpiness of the Dems will be on full display.
The big questions are why Biden waited so long to put Harris in the spotlight, given his age, and whether Harris is the best person for the job. It’s too late to make changes, but these negative factors are not news to the Dems. Biden is not getting younger, Harris is not a forceful presence on the national stage, and the country seems willing to elect a fascist like Trump.
It’s evident Americans want forceful leaders, even if they are criminals, tax cheats, adulterers, and rapists. So when Hillary Clinton said, “When they go low, we go high,” she articulated the Dem’s exact recipe for disaster.
Now, it looks like the Dems will face the cost of being wimps.