Just in case you feel the need for more bad news, the Gallup poll released yesterday has great gobs of it. At the beginning of 2021, Gallup reported, the share of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats or leaning Democratic exceeded the Republicans, and Republican leaners, share by nine percentage points: 49 percent to 40 percent. Three-quarters of the way through 2021, that advantage had shrunk to a single point, 45 percent to 44 percent. And by years end, three weeks ago, Republicans had surged to a five-point lead over the Democrats, 47 percent to 42 percent.
A bad year and a bad fourth quarter, what with rampages by the four horsemen of Democratic decline: omicron, inflation, Manchin, and Sinema.
It will be no easy task for Joe Biden and the Democrats to extricate themselves from this hole. Certainly, passing a scaled-back Build Back Better bill would help. As for the elements left out of that bill, House Democrats in swing districts have an interesting proposal: Bring them each to a separate vote. If, as appears likely, the ultimate BBB fails to include such items as the Child Tax Credit and reducing drug prices, bring those up for votes, so at least Democrats can highlight their support for them, and Republicans opposition, before the November election.
The Washington Post reports that House Democrats would like to begin that process ASAP, but I think the better course of action would be to let Senate Democrats winnow down BBB so that it can pass through reconciliation first, and only then take votes on its omitted popular particulars. Getting BBB enacted in any form has proved to be such a maddening, Herculean task that distractions like side votes might become just more obstacles to enactment. Once the bill is enacted, however, Democrats all but have to do what their swing-districters recommend. To not put themselves on the side of, say, reducing drug costs, while putting Republicans on the record opposing such actions, would amount to political malpractice of the highest order. The Democrats should enact whats enactable and demand a division of the House on whats not. Otherwise, the division of the House in the next Congress will be lopsidedly worse than Democrats currently fearand avoidably so.