On the final day of August last summer, President Biden addressed the country from the White House following the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, just days following the tragic death of 13 service members at the Kabul airport, sufficient reason for his ambitious legislation agenda in shambles.
That late summer address to the country will be the start of Biden’s political free fall.
In the months that could follow, the outlook for Biden’s legislative agenda would go from bad to worse when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV.) seemed to put the death nail in the president’s domestic agenda within an interview with Fox News; Democrats lost a winnable Virginia governor’s race; Russia invaded Ukraine, creating a power crisis and causing gas prices to skyrocket; historic inflation occur; and the country witnessed a number of deadly mass shootings. Also it seemed to many that Biden’s Washington was not capable of responding to some of it.
By this spring, because the president hit the political nadir of his first term, Biden’s political obituary was the main topics nonstop cable news chatter. Pundits and Republicans declared a “red tsunami” was coming this November. Conventional wisdom was an election that might be a referendum on Biden and Democrats’ handling of inflation, immigration, and crime would sweep Republicans into control of the home and Senate in historic fashion. Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was even boasting that Republicans would flip a lot more than 60 House seats.
Biden and Democrats were declared politically dead.
Nearly per year to your day of this Afghanistan speech, and just a couple months after his political near-death experience, the Joe Biden who addressed the country in primetime from outside Independence Hall on Thursday night is person who has risen from the political grave, is on offense, gets the high ground, and is setting the agenda for the midterms.
It’s been a summer of unprecedented successpassage of gun reform legislation and far of his domestic agenda through the Inflation Reduction Act, and also falling gas prices and inflation. All this, put into a newly energized Democratic base, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, has propelled Democrats to unexpected victories in special elections in NY and Alaska. Now, Biden and Democrats go to the ultimate stretch of the 2022 campaign with the political wind at their back and a fresh swagger within their step.
This new swagger was on full display Thursday night as Biden used his most effective weapon, the presidential bully pulpit, to operate a vehicle home the brand new political reality just 8 weeks before Election Day: This election is not any longer a referendum but instead a choice. A selection between MAGA extremism and their vision for the united states and those who would like to protect our democracy and our basic freedoms. Either whether voters desire to give the reins of capacity to those who desire to relegate women to second-class citizens, peddle in conspiracy theories and threats of violence, and can have a wrecking ball to the building blocks of our democracyor not.
Heading into Labor Day weekend, traditionally when many voters begin to tune in sufficient reason for only a few short weeks until early voting starts in lots of states, that which was clear as Biden finished his primetime address is that both parties are headed in various directions.
In a sensational reversal of political fortunes, it really is Republicans that are on defense, with shifting daily explanations for why the top of these party seems to have had top-secret intelligence sprawled out around his resort and scrubbing their websites of these own position on abortion and mentions of Donald Trump. While Biden and Democrats ‘re going on offense, centering their closing argument on conditions that polling shows have increased to the very best of voters’ concerns: abortion and threats to your democracy.
IN-MAY of 2019, then-candidate Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign with a large rally in Philadelphia where he said a campaign against Trump was a campaign for the soul of the united states and denounced the corrosive effect Trump was wearing the country. The campaign that followed resulted in historic turnout and a rejection of Donald Trump and far of what the Republican Party has arrived at are a symbol of.
On Thursday, the newly politically emboldened Biden returned to Philly, just over 3 years from then on campaign kickoff, with an identical message and longing for an identical result.
8 weeks is really a lifetime in politics. And a whole lot can transform. One only must look at where Democrats were in July versus where they’re in September to comprehend that. But what’s clear after Thursday night’s speech is that Joe Biden is back from the political dead, Democrats have momentum, which election is currently a choice, not just a referendum. Which was unthinkable a few short months ago.
Doug Gordon is really a Democratic strategist and co-founder of UpShift Strategies who spent some time working on numerous federal, state, and local campaigns and on Capitol Hill. He could be on Twitter at @dgordon52.
The views expressed in this post will be the writer’s own.