Midterm election outlook darkens for Biden’s White House

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – The White House has scaled back its optimism about the midterm elections and now fears Democrats could lose control of both houses of Congress, administration officials said.

Recent polls have shown Democrats who once had comfortable leads in some Senate races on the edge, and Senate elections that were seen as a two-party showdown are now leaning towards the Republican as inflation high persists.

The House of Representatives, which Biden and some allies and advisers predicted Democrats could hold earlier this year, is swinging decisively for Republicans, according to polling analysts including FiveThirtyEight.

The loss of control of one or both houses of Congress will profoundly shape the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency, with Republicans expected to block legislation on family leave, abortion, policing and other Biden priorities. while pushing new laws curb immigration and spending, using debt ceiling as leverage.

Republicans should also launch surveys in Democratic spending and the business dealings and private life of President Hunter’s son. Some lawmakers say they hope to impeach Biden, members of his cabinet or Vice President Kamala Harris.

A person familiar with the thinking inside the White House said the Democrats’ chances of keeping control of the Senate were seen as 50-50.

Biden scheduled for May that his fellow Democrats would make gains in both the House and the Senate, but he acknowledged last week that the race had tightened. “There was back and forth with them ahead, us ahead, them ahead,” Biden said, adding that the polls were “everywhere” and he thought they would turn to the Democrats once again before. the November 8 elections.

The White House, while realistic, publicly stands by this message of hope.

“The President and his advisers believe we have a good chance of retaining both chambers and we are working to do everything they can to take advantage of whatever Republicans play into our hands – including saying that their priority absolute is to make inflation worse with a giveaway tax on the rich,” a Biden adviser said in response to Reuters information.

Former and current advisers say the White House is preparing for any obstruction or investigation that may arise.

“The White House is lucid about what Republican control might look like,” said Eric Schultz, a Democratic strategist with close ties to the White House. “It’s no mystery where Republicans will go with this if they get the hammer.”

Earlier this year, the White House hired white-collar defense attorney Richard Sauber as special counsel to prepare for any investigation, but additional hirings and personnel changes are on hold until election results are known, said the person familiar with the situation. Internal divisions within the Republican Party mean those lawmakers may struggle to know what to focus on, the source added.

ABORTION, INFLATION AND CRIME

At the origin of the recent overhaul: the persistence of inflation concerns among major voting groups and the difficulty of combating the Republican message through several campaigns that the Democrats’ support for criminal justice and reform of police mean they are soft on crime, administration officials said.

Legislative victories in June and August vote in kansas rejection of efforts to remove abortion protections from the state constitution led Democrats to believe that voters were rejecting Republican policy priorities.

But a few hopes were dashed earlier this month by a higher-than-expected inflation figure and numerous polls showing that inflation is still the main concern of voters.

White House officials and Reuters Democratic strategists spoke up to acknowledge the overall shift from midterm optimism, but weren’t ready to give up.

Historically, midterms favor the party not in the White House, they note, and tight House and Senate races could swing for Democrats on just a small number of votes.

“We’ve been talking about the economy, inflation, abortion, our legislative victories and how that will help Americans for months now,” a White House official said, dismissing the idea that Democrats were overly optimistic about the impact of the Supreme Court’s repeal of abortion. rights would have over the Democratic candidates.

“There has been an increase in the number of women registering to vote in several battleground states and we believe it is extremely important to get these newly mobilized voters into the voting booths in November,” the official said. .

Abortion plays “a key role” in at least half a dozen Senate races, a second White House official said. “It also impacts center-right neighborhoods that are swing neighborhoods in House races.”

Inflation stats and Republican messages on crime have undermined Biden’s warning against what he calls the extremist “MAGA” wing of the Republican Party, which has vowed to try to curtail human rights. abortion and other popular freedoms, including contraception.

While some analysis shows that Republican-led states have murder rates as high or higher than those led by Democrats, an Ipsos poll this month showed that American voters prefer republicans on Democrats to solve crime problems.

PRODUCTIVE, NOT POPULAR

The White House has failed to build on a string of legislative successes on climate, infrastructure and expanded social benefits to secure higher favor ratings for Biden, according to battleground state Democratic strategists .

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president spoke frequently about student debt relief, the economy, infrastructure and abortion before the mid-elections. mandate. “Almost every day you’ve seen the president in front of the American people, talking about exactly this: what’s at stake,” she said.

Some Democrats say they wanted to see Biden hit the road more often, pointing to the impact of those policies on local voters. But the candidates of some crucial races have also chosen to campaign without Bidenpushing the White House to drastically reduce its planned presence in competition areas around the country in the weeks leading up to the race, according to an official.

Biden has stepped up his travel schedule in recent weeks, switching between political events and others more focused on specific legislative accomplishments.

A West Coast swing in mid-October included no stops in Nevada or Arizona, where two key Senate races took place, while former President Barack Obama will begin a campaign swing this week.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Jeff Mason, Nandita Bose and Jarrett Renshaw. Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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