Democrats struggle to keep their grassroots energized as frustrations mount
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats recognize that an essential part of the challenge for their party is structural: with a narrow majority in Congress, the party cannot pass anything unless the whole group agrees. That empowers moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin III. of West Virginia to block some of the biggest promises to their supporters, including a comprehensive voting bill.
A more aggressive approach may not result in an immigration or voting bill being passed, but it would signal to Democrats that Mr Biden is fighting for them, said Faiz Shakir, a close adviser to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Mr Shakir and others fear that focusing on two major laws – infrastructure and spending – will not be enough to motivate supporters who are skeptical of the federal government‘s ability to improve their lives.
“I am a supporter of Biden, a supporter of the Agenda, and I am frustrated and angry with him that this is going in the direction it is headed,” said Shakir, who led Mr Sanders’ 2020 presidential election looks like we have President Manchin instead of President Biden in this debate. “
He added, “It made the president look weak.”
The gap over how much attention should be paid to fixed democratic constituencies and moderate swing voters creates a political debate that has been stirring the party for a long time: is it more important to strengthen the grassroots or convince swing voters? And can Democrats do both at the same time?
White House advisors argue that keeping Democrats in power will keep Democrats in power – or at least contain the extent of their medium-term losses. They see the decline among core Democrats as an expression of a challenging political moment – rising inflation, the ongoing pandemic, uncertainty about schools – rather than dissatisfaction with government priorities.
“It’s November 2021, not September 2022,” said John Anzalone, Mr Biden’s pollster. “If we pass Build Back Better, we’ll have a great mid-term message, when the Labor Day bell rings, about what we’ve done for the people.”
Even mitigated by Mr Biden’s original $ 3.5 trillion plan, the bill passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month offers proposals to transform childcare, elderly care, prescription medication, and financial support for that College and the Biggest Investment Ever Slower Climate Change. However, some of the most popular measures will not be felt by voters until long after the mid-term elections, as will the effects of many infrastructure projects.