The New York Times - the establishment mouthpiece of record - has thrown President Biden under the bus.
After interviewing "50 Democratic officials, from county leaders to members of Congress, as well as disappointed voters who backed Mr. Biden in 2020," the Times reports that the Democratic party is "alarmed about Republicans’ rising strength and extraordinarily pessimistic about an immediate path forward."
In short, time to bench Biden - who "should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms," according to Steve Simeonidis, a Democratic National Committee member from Miami.
"To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality," he said. And top Democrats in general are feeling the same, it would appear.
Midway through the 2022 primary season, many Democratic lawmakers and party officials are venting their frustrations with President Biden’s struggle to advance the bulk of his agenda, doubting his ability to rescue the party from a predicted midterm trouncing and increasingly viewing him as an anchor that should be cut loose in 2024.
As the challenges facing the nation mount and fatigued base voters show low enthusiasm, Democrats in union meetings, the back rooms of Capitol Hill and party gatherings from coast to coast are quietly worrying about Mr. Biden’s leadership, his age and his capability to take the fight to former President Donald J. Trump a second time. -NYT
Sounds pretty dire, no?
Adding to Democrats' undoubted frustration is the fact that just 19 million Americans tuned in to watch this week's professionally-produced January 6th Committee hearings - the establishment's current Hail Mary against the president they threw two impeachments and a Russia hoax at, yet still remains the Republican front runner (unless DeSantis makes a serious move).
For reference, an estimated 38 million people tuned in to Trump's inauguration, 20 million watched Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while Trump's impeachment second impeachment hearing, as well as testimony by Russiagate investigator Robert Mueller, drew just 13 million or so viewers.
In short, the J6 hearings are unlikely having the anticipated impact as Democrats (and RINOs) once again attempt to hobble Donald Trump's image going into an election year.
According to the Times, the Biden administration's repeated failures to pass big-ticket legislation on signature Democratic issues - on top of his "halting efforts to use the bully pulpit of the White House to move public opinion," have resulted in terrible approval ratings and "a party that, as much as anything, seems to feel sorry for him."
Biden's failures have left Democratic leaders struggling to explain why nothing is his fault - from inflation rates not seen for 40 years, surging gas prices, a botched pandemic response, a Supreme Court about to strike down the right to abortion, and a complete fail on gaining party consensus to pass meaningful provisions of their Build Back Better agenda.
Democrats are also worried because Biden, 79, is ancient - and would be 82 by the time he might win reelection in 2024. The Times relays Democrats' concern over "political viability."
They have watched as a commander in chief who built a reputation for gaffes has repeatedly rattled global diplomacy with unexpected remarks that were later walked back by his White House staff, and as he has sat for fewer interviews than any of his recent predecessors.
"The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue," said David Axelrod, former Obama strategist and Democratic operative.
And while Democrats are sick of their embarrassment-in-chief, Vice President Kamala Harris isn't 'polling' much better within the party due to "a series of political hiccups of her own in office."
So who will they turn to? What does anyone do when you've got a terrible hand? Since there's no folding, Democrats are just going to play the cards they're dealt.
Democrats mentioned a host of other figures who lost to Mr. Biden in the 2020 primary: Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; and Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who is now running for Texas governor, among others.
Who knows, maybe they'll wheel Hillary back out - or activate Gavin Newsom for a longshot?
"The generation after me is just a complete trash heap," said Howard Dean, the 73-year-old former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman who ran for president in 2004. "We need to have specific examples of how we’re dealing with things; it can’t just be pie-in-the-sky and kumbaya."
Biden's allies have offered totally not-delusional support for the president - insisting he's kept the country on the right track despite the obstacles, and no other Democrat would do better than him in 2024.
"Only one person steered a transition past Trump’s lies and court challenges and insurrection to take office on Jan. 20: Joe Biden," said Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the president, citing strong jobs numbers and efforts to combat the pandemic.
"I am worried that leaders in the party aren’t more aggressively touting the success of the administration," said Cristóbal Alex, who was a senior adviser for the Biden campaign and was the deputy cabinet secretary in the White House until last month. "The narrative needs to shift, and that can only happen with a powerful echo chamber combined with action in Congress on remaining priorities. The American people feel unsettled."
Not delusional at all.
Meanwhile, Biden's approval ratings hit a new low last week. According to a Wednesday poll by Quinnipiac University, Biden's overall job approval is just 33%, and 22% among those aged 18-34. What's more, just 24% of Hispanic voters and 49% of black voters say they think Biden's doing an ok job.
Across all major polls, Biden's approval rating has sunk to 39.4% according to RealClear Politics.
Other Democrats, such as freshman Texas state Rep. Jasmine Crockett are keeping their mouths shut. "I’m not allowed to have feelings right now" she said, referring to thoughts on Biden. "When you’re an incoming freshman, you just don’t get to."
Except, then she went on...
"Democrats are like, ‘What the hell is going on?" Crockett said, referring to a "stark enthusiasm gap" between Texas Republicans and Democrats, who "have not used their narrow control of the federal government to advance a progressive agenda."
"Our country is completely falling apart. And so I think we’re lacking in the excitement."
How is the average Democratic voter feeling?
"I need an equivalent of Ron DeSantis, a Democrat, but not a 70- or 80-year-old — a younger person," said Alex Wyshyvanuk, 33, a data analyst from Annapolis, Md. "Someone who knows what worked for you in 1980 is not going to work for you in 2022 or 2024."
The Times also notes the party's "Regret and anxiety," over "Biden’s inability to persuade centrist Democratic senators to back his agenda."
With the prospect looming of a Republican majority in at least one chamber of Congress next year, Democrats who have been in a similar position of holding fleeting control of government are nervous that past mistakes will be repeated.
Elizabeth Guzmán, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said Democrats in her caucus regret not passing a sweeping abortion rights law last year before they lost control of the state House and governor’s mansion to Republicans.
“We wanted to codify Roe v. Wade, and look what happened,” she said.
Judy Vidal, 58, a retail worker from Cape Coral, Fla., echoed that sentiment.
“I just wish that since we have the majority now they would have behaved the way Republicans did and push things through,” she said. -NYT
The anxiety "extends to the core of his political base," such as Adrianne Shropshire - executive director of BlackPAC.
"Does this frustration and the malaise and the worry and the fear, does that translate into an ongoing enthusiasm gap, and does that cause people to feel like their participation doesn’t make significant change?" she asked. "That’s the real question."
"Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race," said Shelia Huggins, a lawyer from Durham, N.C., who is a member of the Democratic National Committee, adding:
"That can’t be Biden."