Douglas E. Schoen, former advisor to President Clinton and 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, puts the infrastrucxture deal in perspective in his article, “Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle” at The Hill: “The Senate’s vote on Wednesday to take up a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill was a big win for bipartisanship, and a big win for President Biden….The 67-to-32 procedural vote, which included 17 Republicans, came just hours after a group of centrist Senators finished negotiating enough details to begin official consideration of the legislation. Though the bill has a ways to go in the Senate and the House, this procedural vote was an encouraging step in the right direction….For years, lawmakers have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to put together a bipartisan deal on infrastructure.” Schoen credits “President Biden and the group of bipartisan Senators for their efforts, and for showing Americans that cooperation and genuine progress are still possible, even in our deeply polarized political climate….Indeed, Democrats should approach the priorities in their massive $3.5 trillion bill — childcare, education, and clean energy investments — on an issue-by-issue basis in a bipartisan fashion, rather than ramming through one of the largest government expenditures in history on a simple party line vote through the Senate’s budget reconciliation process.”
Schoen continues, “From a practical perspective, proceeding cautiously and incrementally is the only sensical approach to take during such uncertain times — given the specter of inflation and a potential slowdown in the economy (or even a recession) as federal assistance to families is phased out in September. This economic uncertainty is further compounded by the recent growth in COVID-19 cases due to the highly infectious Delta variant….Moreover, Democrats ramming this $3.5 trillion bill through on party lines will have costly political consequences. And in my experience working in the White House, working across party lines leads to both meaningful reform as well as electoral success….After Republicans took back control of the House in the 1994 midterm elections, we worked with Republicans in Congress towards a balanced budget and welfare reform, both of which had bipartisan support. In 1996, President Clinton won his second term by a landslide, and he left office under an economic surplus….However, the Democrats’ failure to be incremental and bipartisan now in their approach to the rest of Biden’s agenda could put the party in the minority and Congress in 2022, and could also make a Republican victory in the 2024 presidential election much more likely.”
At FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey Skelley shares some new data regarding covid vaccination and political attitudes, which reveal the challenges President Biden faces going forward: “The delta variant is spreading rapidly in part because around 30 percent of Americans remain entirely unvaccinated. About 60 percent of adults are fully vaccinated and another 9 percent are partly vaccinated,1 which puts the country just short of — and behind schedule for — President Biden’s 70 percent goal set for July Fourth….Republicans are more likely than Democrats and independents to say they won’t get a vaccination. Depending on the poll, somewhere around 20 percent to 30 percent of Republicans say they won’t get vaccinated, whereas only about 5 percent of Democrats say the same. Independents who are refusing to get the vaccine range from around 10 percent to 25 percent in surveys….the Public Religion Research Institute recently found that the share of Americans under age 50 who were hesitant or opposed to getting the vaccine fell from slightly more than 50 percent in March to 35 percent in June. Still, just under half of that group of 35 percent remained opposed to getting vaccinated in the June survey…In the latest weekly survey from The Economist/YouGov, slightly less than half of Black and Hispanic adults reported being fully vaccinated, while more than 60 percent of white adults said they were….The Kaiser Family Foundation found in April that significantly more unvaccinated Black and Hispanic adults than white adults didn’t know where or when they could get a vaccine….The Economist/YouGov survey showed that around 80 percent of white Americans with a college degree had been fully vaccinated, compared with about 55 percent of those without a degree.” Skelley also notes that “According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of COVID-19, but that’s 9 percentage points lower than the share who approved at the end of March.”
In “Other Polling Bites,” Skelley notes that “Morning Consult/Politico found that 58 percent of registered voters supported a congressional commission investigation of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, which comes as the House select committee looking into the insurrection held its first hearing on Tuesday. Support was down from 66 percent in June, however, as only 34 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents backed the congressional investigation, down from 45 percent and 65 percent, respectively.” The fact that the hearings have to compete with the Olympics for public attention at a time when Americans are hungry for some positive news may be reflected in attitudes toward the investigation in the near future. Of course, congress has to proceed with the probe, regardless of polls. What would be helpful at this point would be a survey linking public attitudes toward the two parties to the January 6th assault on the capitol. Democratic 2022 candidates and campaigns need some clues about how memory of the January 6th assault on the capitol plays with potential swing voters, in particular. In any event, the available video of January 6th provides Democrats with a potentially-powerful resource in the 2022 campaign– if they use it effectively to brand the GOP as the party of chaos and a dangerous enemy of democracy.