To hear the pundit class tell it, the sky is falling and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. President Biden has given up on his legislative agenda. Chuck Schumer is a damsel in distress who won’t ever be able to make anything happen. And Attorney General Merrick Garland is sitting in a smoky back room, conspiring with Bill Barr to destroy us all. Or something.
Over the past week or two, the doomsday narratives across social media and cable news have reached full blown hysteria, to the point that a lot of liberal activists are sinking into total hopelessness. I know this, not only because I see it in other people’s social media posts, but because a number of people who follow Palmer Report on social media have begun telling me that they’re feeling hopeless about how horribly wrong things have supposedly gone.
But I’m here to tell you that none of this doomsday stuff is real, or at least none of it’s accurate. If you step away from the pundit bubble for a minute and look at politics in the big picture, here’s what’s really going on right now:
– President Biden is long past the traditional first hundred day honeymoon period, but he still has a roughly 60% approval rating, suggesting his popularity is sustainable. This gives him extraordinary political capital and leverage that he can use against everyone from the obstructionist Republicans, to the holdout Democratic Senators. It’s really difficult for a politician to defy the will of a highly popular President from their own party, which is why he’s going to ultimately be able to get people like Manchin and Sinema to cave on the most important things.
– Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats are actually advancing their legislative agenda much more quickly than Mitch McConnell was ever able to. The Democrats already have one major piece of legislation in the bag (the groundbreaking relief and stimulus package). They have a clear path to pass the infrastructure bill through reconciliation. And Biden can use his political muscle to push voting rights legislation into law as well.
– While Senate Democrats have gotten a late start to the process because they first had to do other things like confirm Postal Board nominees, they’re now days away from confirming the first slate of Biden-appointed judges. Based on the sheer number of nominees being put forward, Biden and the Democrats are on track to confirm more judges than Trump and McConnell ever did.
– The Democrats saw record turnout in last night’s election in Virginia, making clear that there is still significant momentum among Democratic voters, which is a positive sign heading into the midterms.
So here in the real world we have a President who is popular enough that he’ll be able to twist arms on his own side to get his agenda passed, we have a Democratic Senate that’s moving rather quickly by the usual Senate standards, and we have a Democratic voting base that’s still very much looking to fight and win.
None of this squares up with the prevailing narrative from the pundits, about how Biden’s agenda is dead, the Democratic Senate agenda is doomed, everyone has given up, and all hope is lost. But that’s because none of that doomsday hype is real. It’s a bunch of simplistic nonsense crafted by pundits who know better, because they want to pander to the worst fears of liberal activists who don’t necessarily know how any of these processes really work, in order to scare them into staying tuned in.
So if you’re one of the numerous liberal activists who are suddenly losing hope this week, I cheerfully suggest that you try changing the channel, or tuning out the doomsday pundits who are feeding you this nonsense. The doomsday narrative is vastly overblown at best, and outright fiction at worst. There’s never a reason to just sit there and stare at it. The Democratic Party itself, and a whole lot of liberal activists out in the real world, are fighting and winning. Now is the time to throw our support behind them and fight alongside them. Staring at that doomsday stuff all day isn’t good for your political IQ or your health.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report