- Biden laid out his economic accomplishments to a meeting of the Democratic National Committee.
- Democrats have worried that the party wasn’t adequately explaining its economic policies to voters.
- Biden gave DNC members an economic message they could take back to their states during the midterms.
In a speech to the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, US President Joe Biden provided party faithful with a playbook for preaching the Democrats’ economic accomplishments to voters as the party faced down its most challenging campaign cycle in over a decade.
Some Democrats have worried that the president and his supporters were not adequately touting their economic policies in a way that resonated with voters, and that the lack of a concise economic message would harm candidates in November. Democrats are playing defense for the US House and Senate this year, as they currently hold a narrow majority in both chambers. But Republicans hope to capitalize on economic unease and pandemic exhaustion — not to mention a bevy of culture war issues — in order to sweep back into power this November.
Biden’s DNC speech, held in a ballroom at the Washington Hilton in DC, addressed the party’s need for a clear economic message head-on. He issued marching orders to the delegates, who had traveled from across the country for the meeting, saying the Democratic “agenda is addressing the biggest concerns here in American people’s lives,” and the party had a “message that resonates.”
“Now we have do is sell it with confidence, clarity and conviction and repetition,” Biden said.
Biden said Democrats’ policies would “build America from the bottom up and the middle out, because when the middle does well, everybody does well.”
He cited the party’s now-frequent talking point that it oversaw the creation of more than 6 million jobs created in 2021. He pledged to cap insulin prices at $35 a month, and bring manufacturing jobs back to the US to stave off the supply chain issues that have contributed to a hectic economic recovery from the pandemic.
Of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, which passed Congress in 2021, Biden vowed, “This bill is going to create millions of jobs that’s literally rebuilding America’s roads bridges, highways, ports airports.” He touted the law’s “$65 million to deliver affordable, high-speed internet everywhere in America: urban, suburban, and rural.”
Biden also promised to seek bipartisan consensus for addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction; investing in mental healthcare, particularly for children; assisting veterans who suffered from health issues due to exposure to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan; and “ending cancer as we know it.”
The president, whose popularity has slumped in recent months as Americans contended with high inflation and frustration over COVID-19’s lingering impact, enjoyed a slight bump in public approval following his State of the Union address on March 1 and his handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February. But a majority of Americans still disapprove of Biden’s performance.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted from March 4-6, found that 51% of registered voters disapproved of Biden’s performance, compared with 45% who approved.
Some in the Democratic Party are concerned that the president’s unpopularity will create challenging headwinds for their candidates in November.
“There are challenges to break through the clutter, there’s a lot of noise out there,” said Vicki Hiatt, chair of the Kansas Democratic Party. She cited Republicans’ localized push to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools, and battles over mask mandates, as issues where Democrats had struggled to broadcast their messaging above the partisan fray.
Republicans indicated on Thursday that not only will they seek to take back the US House and the Senate, but they will also make a play to flip chambers in state legislatures in Colorado and Minnesota, where Democrats currently have a majority.
Republicans have repeatedly blamed Biden for high levels of inflation, particularly high gas prices, in their efforts to get voters to entrust them with control of the legislative branch next year.
Democrats hope that hammering home a message that their economic policies will provide relief for America’s middle class will help stave off a Republican takeover in Congress.
Hundreds of DNC members from across the country flew into Washington, DC, this week to attend to party business, including selecting new caucus chairs and nailing down new procedural rules. With the pandemic relegating much of Democratic Party politics to the doldrums of
, members were upbeat at the chance to mingle with their Democrats in person for the first time in two years. But beneath the excitement of hotel bar happy hours, the prospect of a difficult midterm election for their party loomed.
“We need to make sure people are feeling the effects” of the Biden Administration’s accomplishments “at the grassroots level,” said Radhika Nath, a DNC member from Colorado.
Introducing Biden, DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison tested out a new refrain that summarized his party’s message: “Democrats deliver.”
“One side wants to make you poor, the other side wants to solve the problems,” Harrison said. “The next eight months, our job is to be relentless in getting that message out to the American people. We have to make sure every American knows that we have a plan to get stuff done and a track record to prove that we can do it.”