The Only Thing That Can Re-Elect Joe Biden Is Donald Trump

It has become common political wisdom that the White House misinterpreted Joe Biden’s mandate. Democrats confused opposition to Donald Trump with support for a progressive economic and social agenda. Republicans should beware of making a similar mistake regarding current public opinion about Mr. Biden’s job performance.

Eighteen months into his presidency, Mr. Biden has few accomplishments for his party in November’s midterm elections. There are symbolic victories, like nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court, but the government’s signature proposal, Build Back Better, has gone nowhere. Worse for Democrats, the problem is not Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It is members of the President’s own party who have stood in his way.

Winning those US Senate seats in Georgia has been a mixed blessing for Democrats. Had they lost the two January 2021 races, Mr. Biden could more plausibly claim that a Republican-controlled Senate was responsible for his policy failure. But since his party has the majority in the House of Lords, no one else is to blame.

Part of Mr. Biden’s problem is that Democrats have never been particularly enthusiastic about nominating him for president. They were thrilled to get rid of Donald Trump, so they did their party duty and nominated the person most likely to do the job. But apart from this instrumental role, he is of little use to the progressives who run his government and those who appear on cable news programs, which explains the growing criticism of the president’s advanced age and questionable competence by liberal elites.

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Mr. Biden is taking the heat, but polling data suggests the Democratic Party’s woes run much deeper than the president’s job admission numbers. Liberal political scientist Ruy Teixeira’s July 14 headline reads, “Working class and Hispanic voters are losing interest in party’s pro-abortion, gun control and January 6 hearings.” Citing a recent poll by the New York Times/ At Siena College, he states that “the lack of democratic support among working-class (non-college) voters is striking. Democrats lose 11 points among all working-class voters but lead college graduates by 23 points. This is less a class gap than a yawning abyss.” In the 2018 midterm election, Democrats held a 47-point lead over Republicans among Hispanic voters. Today it’s a statistical draw.

Mr. Teixeira is not claiming that all working-class voters oppose gun control and abortion rights, or that they are indifferent to the Trump-supporter-instigated Capitol riot. His argument is that cost-of-living issues outweigh these concerns, while the opposite is true for senior progressive Democrats who “clearly live in a different world from Hispanic and working-class voters.”

Because of these electoral woes and the resulting infighting among Democrats, Republicans feel more confident going into the midterms in November. A more ethnically and racially diverse Republican Party has long been Democrats’ worst nightmare and could help turn some of the suspension seats Democrats hold. The party without power usually wins congressional seats in off-year elections, and if Republicans can keep their focus on high inflation, rising crime rates and border chaos, this year should be no exception.

However, looking ahead to the halftime, the GOP still has a problem with Donald Trump that Mr. Biden’s problems cannot solve. Mr. Trump’s popularity among Republicans has waned, but not as much as media reports suggest. According to the New York Times/Siena poll, 49% of Republicans said they would vote for Mr. Trump in 2024. That’s the lowest level since he left office, but it’s still almost double the 25% of Republicans who favored the Florida government for Ron DeSantis, Mr. Trump’s closest rival. Other candidates included Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, but none of them had more than a single-digit percentage of the vote.

Mr. Trump is well positioned at this early stage to receive his party’s nomination for President if he chooses to run. In fact, he’s far more popular with Republicans than Joe Biden is with Democrats. In the same poll, just 26% of Democrats said they wanted Mr. Biden to run again in 2024, while 64% said someone else should be the party’s nominee. The problem for Republicans is that as unpopular as Mr. Biden is at the moment, polls show he would still beat Mr. Trump in a theoretical rematch if the election were held today. Democrats may be against their president, but they will almost certainly turn a blind eye and back him if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee — as they did in 2020, when pragmatism was more important than purity. Far from denying Mr. Biden a second term, a Trump candidacy could guarantee it.

Wonderland: Responsibility for this administration’s public failures rests with the Democratic Party, not just Joe Biden. Images: Bloomberg News/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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