This Week: The Briefing, Vol. IX, Issue 34
- Biden’s worst nightmare in Afghanistan
- Leftists abandon recall election in Alaska
- Gavin Newsom is running scared
Outlook: Joe Biden is a political animal. He has been as much for 50 years. He lives and dies with public opinion. He says in public whatever he thinks he can get away with. And when things get bad — as they did earlier this month in Afghanistan — he hopes and prays that they won’t get much, much worse.
Last week, the worst happened. A terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport killed 13 U.S. servicemembers. The Biden administration’s disorderly, panicked retreat from Afghanistan went immediately from embarrassing to tragic.
One potential result is a catastrophic loss of faith in Biden’s administration. Polls suggest that this potential is being realized. In state after state, Biden now finds himself underwater. His claims about Afghanistan having been proven false and over-optimistic, he is no longer credible. The curtain has been pulled back, and it turns out that there is no plan. There is no one responsible and in control of his administration’s foreign policy. It is being run by people who have no idea what they are doing or talking about.
This is how midterm elections turn from adverse events into disasters for incumbent presidents. With this loss of international respect and voter trust, Biden’s chances of moving his domestic agenda have been severely diminished. The more controversial elements of his reconciliation package will probably be scuttled as fickle moderate senators (neither Joe Manchin nor Kyrsten Sinema is up for re-election this year) turn up their noses at most of them fearful of the consequences.
Meanwhile, many of the Democrats facing re-election this year will walk the plank on BIden’s behalf and find themselves sucked under by the resulting undertow. Just as so many House and Senate Democrats ended their careers in 2010 and 2014 by supporting Obamacare, the Democrats who try now to prop up Biden’s administration amid the Afghanistan and border crises will find that voters can be rather severe in meting out consequences for their poor decisions.
California: If you want to understand how desperate Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, is becoming, just look at how hysterical liberal journalists are getting in defending him, and the pushback they are receiving. They are now calling recall election frontrunner Larry Elder — a black man — a white supremacist. The absurdity speaks for itself.
When a white liberal tells you that he thinks he owns black people’s opinions, believe him. Newsom and his allies really do think that way, and it reveals a lot.
In the meantime, it is worth noting that a prominent Democratic former officeholder, party leader, and supporter of charter schools has actively taken up Elder’s cause and even cut an ad for him. The recall of Newsom, she says in the ad, “is not about political party,” said Gloria Romero. “It’s about Newsom.”
Alaska: Union operatives tried to force a recall election against Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. But they came up far short in terms of the signatures required, let alone the number needed to make sure that enough of them were valid. As a consequence, they are dropping it and focusing on the 2022 campaign. The Left’s best hope is former Gov. Bill Walker, an Independent who is really a Democrat.
New York: When he wasn’t harassing women or making people flee his state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was either being lauded by the media or resigning in disgrace.
His exit probably increases Democrats’ chances of holding total power in the Empire State, but there’s a slight chance that people will feel pangs of conscience about rewarding his Democratic enablers with continued unchecked power. Newly sworn-in Gov. Kathy Hochul has done the smart thing by releasing as much derogatory information as possible about Cuomo’s coverup of thousands of COVID deaths. The more distance she places between herself and the toxic former governor (with whom she was not terribly close), the better it is for her.
Georgia: Herschel Walker, R, has officially joined the race to topple Sen. Raphael Warnock, D. Walker has the support of former President Trump, but he has some baggage in the form of an acknowledged mental illness.
Nevada: Even though it is a Republican poll, the ultra-low-profile Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D, has to be somewhat alarmed that any poll has her standing at just 32% and ten points behind former Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Even if you spot her an extra 10 points, it’s an appalling result for any potentially vulnerable incumbent. Nevada is by no means a Blue state, and if Biden is struggling next year, this race could be one to watch.
Laxalt is a big recruit and a stronger candidate than a lot of people are willing to acknowledge, and in the right kind of year he might well be able to turn this into a race.
New Hampshire: Biden’s woes had already put him underwater in swingy New Hampshire before the tragic deaths of 13 Americans a few days later. That bodes well for Republicans who hope to see Gov. Chris Sununu challenge and defeat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who won by the skin of her teeth in 2016. The Biden swoon will encourage the governor to run, and it will push public opinion back toward Republicans in a state that remains more competitive than it might appear at first glance.
Assuming Sununu gets into the race — and there are many hints he will — this will be an important one to watch in 2022.