Jim Messina is a legend in Democratic Party politics. A former adviser to Barack Obama, Messina was one of the members of the brains trust that had catapulted the junior senator from Illinois with a funny last name into becoming America’s first African-American president.
A stalwart and brilliant Democratic Party strategist, Messina has been carrying on about how the re-election campaign for President Joe Biden has not yet hit its mark in selling Bidenomics to the American people.
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod has made similar comments. So, too, have other prominent Democrats heading into the 2024 Presidential Election cycle.
One must marvel at the chutzpah of these otherwise intelligent strategists—men who made even the lame turkey that was Barack Obama’s presidency fly—for believing their problem with the American people is purely a PR one. They’re not selling Bidenomics hard enough.
As someone who is not a Democrat but is a well-honed political observer, believe me, the Biden Campaign is selling the heck out of Joe Biden’s economic plans.
In fact, they’re downright shoving Bidenomics down our throats. It’s just that no one wants what they’re selling.
Joe Biden Lacks Charisma
Even Barack Obama, whose presidency was mediocre at best, was able to overcome the many failures of his administration with a winning personality and a compelling backstory. His successor (and great political foe), Donald J. Trump, similarly has a magnetism in the media that gives him decisive advantages when selling voters on Trump’s otherwise mixed presidential record.
Joe Biden doesn’t have that presence in the press that many of his predecessors had. As the oldest man to inhabit the White House—as well as the oldest man to ever run for reelection in American history—Biden has several negatives weighing him down.
Add to that a truly turgid economy coupled with a global order that increasingly appears to be on the brink of a world war, and Biden’s negatives far outweigh his positives in the eyes of most voters.
No amount of salesmanship, especially in light of Biden’s sclerotic appearance and slurred speechifying, by the Democrats will change these perceptions among most voters.
I have said for months that national polls—especially this early into the election cycle—are next to useless in terms of predicting who will ultimately win the election in 2024. A far better indicator of who might pull a win out of what will assuredly be a toxic miasma in 2024 are polls of key swing state voters.
Few of those this early into the process exist.
Look to the Swing States, My Young Padawan
Although, Morning Consult, a self-described “decision-intelligence company”, in conjunction with Bloomberg News, conducted an in-depth survey of seven key swing states on key issues about the presidential election in 2024.
Those states, by the way, included Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In this survey, former President Donald J. Trump beats President Joe Biden by four points. Specifically, on the matter of the US economy, swing state voters favor Trump over Biden by an astonishing 14 points.
Self-described independent voters in these key swing states favor Trump over Biden by an even wider margin of 22 points!
There is still time for things to drastically change. And if Trump’s legal woes become more pronounced than they already are, the former president might find himself unable to run for the presidency.
Under current conditions, however, Biden is losing bigly to Trump.
Setting aside the obvious personality issues separating Trump from Biden and looking solely at policy, Democrats would do well to remember the old Bill Clinton saw that, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Bobos in Paradise Strike Again?
Of course, in the age of “Chic” voting habits, where bohemian-bourgeois (what David Brooks rightly referred to as “Bobos”) upper middle-class, managerial-types in the suburbs and exurbs of America elevate the need virtue-signal to the world about their higher level of morality in the form of voting, Biden might be able to overcome Trump.
But Democrats shouldn’t rest on that bobo voting bloc coming out heavily in favor of Biden any more than Republicans, if Trump is again their nominee, should bank on economic concerns being the decisive factor in a potential Trump reelection victory.
In these key swing states, though, it isn’t looking good for Biden. If I were advising the Democrats (perish the thought!) I would urge them to stop trying to force people to think about the exorbitant spending, extreme interest rates, high inflation levels, and backdoor tax increases on the middle-class that defines Bidenomics as a winning issue.
If they base Biden’s reelection on the alleged success of Bidenomics, they lose by anywhere from 10-20 points among key swing state voters—which means they’ll lose the electoral college.
If Biden Wants to Win, Focus on Social Issues & Personality
The Biden team might want instead to think about shifting their focus only to those moral matters. Social issues have always been key cleavages with which either political party has exploited to their advantage.
Abortion, while it is a moral blight on our nation, has increasingly become a popular issue for the Democrats. They’d be smart to stoke that issue once more as it was a major reason behind getting so many women to vote for the Democrats in 2018, 2020, and again in 2022.
Connected to this issue of abortion should be the appeal to those bobo voters in the suburbs and exurbs, who are undoubtedly concerned about the economy, but are doing well enough economically to countenance other considerations.
Meanwhile, the Biden Campaign should engage in a campaign of character attacks meant to exacerbate former President Trump’s negative character traits. Independent voters consistently assert that they do not share Trump’s view of the various legal problems he’s facing as being acts of Biden-inspired political theater.
Instead, these independent voters think that Trump should be investigated. Making his campaign about Trump and a variety of social issues, rather than trying to convince people that Bidenomics is really great, is the Biden Campaign’s only hope for possibly winning what will be a very close election.
Joe Biden: One of America’s Worst Presidents
Of course, I doubt they’d ever listen to me—and I, by the way, am fine with that, too. Joe Biden has been the worst president in this country’s history since James Buchanan broke the Union on the eve of the Civil War.
Jim Messina and the other former Obama braintrust members have lost their minds if they think Biden’s only problem is one of PR. This, too, tickles me endlessly seeing the purportedly smartest people in the room lose their political senses to save a candidate like Biden, who would be abandoned if we were living in a saner, better time than we are.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He writes opinion pieces for this publication.