Memo: Biden’s plea for democracy struggles to gain traction

Memo: Biden’s plea for democracy struggles to gain traction

President Biden tried to raise the stakes in the midterm elections with a big speech Wednesday night — but he may have just been preaching to the choir.

Biden’s televised address claimed that America’s “democracy itself” hangs in the balance in Tuesday’s election.

He drew attention to the large number of Republican candidates for office — independently estimated at about 300 — who have cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s midterms, Biden said voters should ask themselves whether either candidate is committed to accepting a “win or lose” outcome.

“The answer to that question is vital,” Biden said. “And, in my opinion, it should be decisive.”

Biden didn’t say anything wrong. And his comments took on an added edge just days after a scathing attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), by a man who allegedly targeted the Democratic top brass.

Still, from an electoral standpoint, it looks like Biden’s argument will be lost in the tailwinds of economic woes and political polarization.

Put simply, voters who agree with Biden are likely to vote for his party anyway.

Even for many Americans who believe democracy is in real danger, concerns about inflation and the economy may be more pressing.

The point is clearly stated ua New York Times-Siena College poll last month.

It was found that 71 percent of registered voters believe that “democracy is under threat.” But only seven percent thought it was the most important issue facing the nation, while 26 percent chose the economy and a further 19 percent cited inflation.

A A CNN poll released Wednesday sent the same message.

It showed 51 percent of likely voters chose the economy and inflation as the top issue in Tuesday’s election, with 15 percent choosing abortion and just 9 percent voting rights and electoral integrity.

Biden and Democrats tried to make an economic case ahead of Election Day, arguing that measures like the Inflation Relief Act and student loan forgiveness provide tangible relief to financially stressed Americans.

“Democrats are building a better America for everyone with an economy that grows from the bottom up and from the middle out, where everyone does well,” Biden said at a Democratic National Committee meeting in late October. “Republicans are doubling down on their mega MAGA trickle down economy that benefits the very rich.”

However, these arguments have struggled to gain traction.

An ABC News-Ipsos poll late last month showed registered voters favoring the GOP over Democrats on the economy by 14 percentage points.

The political woes don’t end there for Biden.

Even some of the voters who express concern about American democracy appear to be motivated by beliefs diametrically opposed to Biden’s.

They either believe former President Trump’s allegations of rigging the 2020 election are false or that stricter rules are needed to prevent illegal voting.

In a New York Times poll, for example, 74 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Republicans agreed that democracy is under threat. But the appearance of unanimity in that result was illusory.

The poll also asked respondents how they would feel if they voted for a candidate who claimed the 2020 election was stolen.

Only 12 percent of Democrats were willing to support the idea. But 71 percent of Republicans said they would be “very comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” voting for such a candidate.

Other research also shows that concerns about democracy take many different forms.

A NewsNation-Decision Desk HQ poll this week found that about a quarter of voters believe 10 percent or more of ballots are fraudulent. Independent studies show that the actual figure is closer to 1 in 50,000.

“Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us,” Biden said Wednesday.

That may be true.

But other issues are also on the ballot — and they put Democrats across the country at risk of defeat next week.

The Memo is a column published by Niall Stanage.

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