WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming to turn months of legislative accomplishments into political energy, President Joe Biden will hold an initial rally on Thursday to boost Democrats’ fortunes 75 days before the midterm elections.
The event, in the safe Democratic suburb of Rockville, Maryland, in Washington, aims to ease Biden into what White House aides say will be an aggressive season of defending his political victories and helping his party’s candidates. This comes as Democrats have seen their political hopes rebound in recent months amid an explosion of action from Biden and Congress that has defined the legacy.
From bipartisan action on arms control, infrastructure and domestic technology manufacturing to the Democrats’ unique efforts to combat climate change and healthcare costs, Biden is expected to highlight the achievements of Washington’s unified but tenuous control of the party. And he will try to sharpen the contrast with Republicans, who previously seemed poised for sizeable victories in November.
Just a few months ago, when inflation soared, Biden’s poll numbers soured and his agenda stalled, Democrats were bracing for significant losses. But the intense voter reaction to the Supreme Court overthrow of Roe v. Wade and a productive summer on issues of central concern to Democrats have made the party feel it is finally on the offensive towards the Nov. 8 vote, even if the president remains unpopular.
The Democrats, said Biden pollster John Anzalone, are “in a better position to compete because Joe Biden put us there.”
“That doesn’t mean the wind is at our backs,” he added. “But we have more breeze than what felt like a hurricane on our face.”
Biden’s Thursday event comes a day after the president moved to fulfill a long-delayed campaign pledge to forgive federal student loans for low- and middle-income borrowers — a move Democrats believe will cheer more voters. youth, blacks and Latinos.
Republicans, however, saw their own political advantage in the measure, calling it an unfair offer to would-be Democratic voters.
“President Biden’s inflation is crushing working families, and his response is to donate even more government money to higher-wage elites,” said Senate Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell. “The Democrats are literally using American workers’ money to try to buy some enthusiasm from their political base.”
Biden’s aides said he would continue to paint Republicans as the “ultra-MAGA” party — a reference to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — opposing his agenda and embracing conservative ideological overtures. about abortion and Trump’s false claims about abortion. election 2020.
Meanwhile, Democrats have benefited from Republican candidates who have won the primaries but are struggling in the general campaign. Trump-backed Senate candidates have complicated the GOP’s chances in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, while several Trump-aligned candidates in the House elections have not always been the party’s first choice.
Trump’s grip on the GOP remains strong and perhaps became even stronger after the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home.
JB Poersch, chairman of the Senate Majority Project, an outside group that is working to elect Democrats to the Senate, said that Republican candidates are “getting caught in the Trump tornado once again — that’s exactly what voters on both parties are doing.” don’t understand. want.”
Biden’s political event, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, comes as the president and members of his cabinet are ready to embark on what the White House has announced as “Building a Better America Tour” to promote “the benefits of the achievements of the President and the Inflation Reduction Act to the American people and highlight the contrast with the view of Congressional Republicans.”
This comes as the White House has benefited from a steady decline in gasoline prices, which, while still high, have fallen daily since mid-June.
Months ago, Democratic lawmakers facing tough re-election struggles tried to make themselves scarce when Biden arrived in town, though White House aides said Biden was still an asset to them, raising questions that resonated with voters and sharpening the distinction with the republicans.
Now the allies see fortunes starting to change and the president as yet another direct asset to the campaigns.
In Maryland, Biden was due to join gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore and a host of other officials on the ballot. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who is running for re-election, was absent, according to a spokesman, because of a long-planned wedding anniversary trip with his wife, but he recorded a video welcoming him. to Biden in his state who would play at the rally.
Cedric Richmond, a former congressman from Louisiana and a senior adviser to Biden who now advises the Democratic National Committee, said that if he ran, he would run to have Biden on his side.
“I would stand in front of the van and become the drummer and talk about all the accomplishments that have happened under Biden’s leadership,” Richmond said Wednesday. “You have a president who just keeps his head down and gets the job done and I think voters, as we start this campaigning season, will see and appreciate that.”
He acknowledged that some Democrats may choose not to “bring Washington into their district.”
“There are probably some cases where that might make sense when you don’t even want to be associated with Washington,” Richmond said. “This has nothing to do with the president. This has everything to do with typical Washington dysfunction.”
He added: “The important point to emphasize is that you don’t have this dysfunction now because of President Biden.”
AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.