You could almost see White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s thought bubble: Welcome to my world. “The fact is, the president created more jobs last year than any year in American history,” she said. “It’s a very simple fact that I probably can’t say enough from here, and our allies and partners can’t say enough over there in the country.”
So why do voters seem determined to believe things that aren’t true? Some dissatisfaction can be attributed to the incessant media coverage of the “falling sky”. But let’s face it: voters are grumpy, frustrated and weary after covid and bored with gas prices. They may know that Biden spent months trying to push through his agenda but didn’t get what he wanted. And so confirmation bias probably sets in for a lot of Americans, telling them everything has to be bad.
PSAKI put it most ably: “People across the country…still feel the impact of covid. Their life has not quite returned to normal. She conceded that high prices are another cause for concern. “I can’t assess what’s in every American’s brain. But I can tell you what the facts are and tell you that we also recognize that there are areas, including cost reduction, that we will continue to work on.
It was a sobering peek into the psyche of voters. If they don’t know jobs have been created, how can democrats expect them to know that republicans voted against covid funding, food aid and state and city funding to keep the cops on high alert ( all in the US bailout)? Or that most Republicans voted against infrastructure spending? What can the president and his team do in the face of such an information vacuum?
This White House team knows there’s no easy way to convince voters that things are going better than they think. But this can simplify the message: “We created 6.6 million jobs in our first year and will build roads, bridges and high-speed internet capacity.” The president might think he’s saying that, but if he’s speaking mid-afternoon from the White House, a lot of voters won’t hear him. Instead, it should go to communities. It can show up in new manufacturing centers and construction companies that hire workers. “Show, don’t explain,” is sound advice.
Similarly, on gas prices, Biden’s pledge to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is foreign language to voters, if they hear it at all. Biden could use a graphic and a message: “Here’s how much Vladimir Putin’s war is costing us at the pumps. This is how much I drive down gas prices by flooding the market with oil.
That’s enough. The long list of programs Congress has failed to pass is noise that drowns out major accomplishments. Likewise, trying too many things at once (e.g., helping veterans with burn injuries, suing for moon cancer, expanding child care, increasing mental health care, promoting green energy, cut the cost of drugs), Biden isn’t seriously focused on anything so far as voters are concerned.
Biden would do well to pick just one initiative — green energy or lower drug prices. That’s it. Democrats can file a bill on the floor of both houses and let Republicans vote against it. And when Republicans reject popular ideas, as they did in opposing a $35 monthly cap on insulin costs, the president needs to talk about it non-stop. “We want to reduce your drug costs. Republicans want you to pay more.”
And speaking of Republicans, Biden needs to bury his senatorial cordiality. Unless and until Biden stops touting how reasonable and constructive Republicans can be, voters will think there’s no harm in putting them back in power. Granted, Biden knows only three Republicans are willing to vote for arguably the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in decades, while many others have smeared her with ridiculous claims that she’s soft on child pornography. . Could he just show a little disgust about it? He only has to explain what they did: They are obstructing. They create chaos. They are trying to steal the elections. They are for nothing.
Democrats believe in the effectiveness of their programs and the ability of government to improve people’s lives. This might impress tankers and people watching C-SPAN. But in the real world, he is losing voters. It’s not too late for Democrats to focus their goals and clarify their message. If they fail, voters will remain convinced that everything is much worse than it is – and that the White House is at fault.