President Joe Biden’s promise that his administration would be a “return to normalcy” was always about Donald Trump and not about Mr. Biden and the party he pilots. Nothing was normal, Daniel Henninger points out in the WSJ, “over which Mr. Biden presided.”
The pandemic’s social dislocations increased. Schools closed, then sort-of opened, with masking policies micromanaged into incomprehensibility. Parents were overwhelmed. The schools mess alone has baked in Democratic losses, notably in states such as New Jersey, a tinderbox of rage over closed schools.
When Congress returned to Washington, there was rampant speculation that Democrats “will move heaven and earth to give the American public a reason to vote for them in November’s midterm elections.”
Democrats might enact:
- another $10 billion in Covid relief
- wave a wand that erases student-loan debt.
“Normally I’d say good luck with that, but the party is beyond luck,” suggests Mr. Henninger.
When Barack Obama (Mr. Henninger refers to him as the party’s main oracle), advised the Biden White House, “You’ve got a story to tell—just got to tell it,” Mr. Henninger says not so fast. It is Democrats’ story that is the problem.
From the day Joe Biden entered office, the Democrats have displayed a misreading of how the Covid-19 pandemic had altered the country’s normal political and social alignments.
Obvious to everyone now, the pandemic forced millions to rethink everything in their lives—their jobs, children, schools, where they lived, care for elderly relatives, the routines of daily life.
The Democrats $2 trillion 2021 Covid relief bill followed by the attempt to pass $4.6 trillion more with Build Back Better was an exercise in “political grandiosity wholly out of sync with a public that had turned inward. Even now, as the pandemic ebbs in an election year, people are preoccupied with either rebuilding their lives or restructuring careers.”
Democrats can also argue, in retirement, how they only “followed the science.” Whatever the justification, Democrats displayed little understanding or sympathy for how much the pandemic restrictions were disrupting people’s lives.
Masking, a Right-Left Issue
Masking became a left-right issue. But the Democrats’ lockstep support for masking hurt them. Covering half one’s face with cloth is an apolitical hassle, which in time wore down many people who wanted out. Instead the Biden CDC, supported by the Justice Department, insisted in the pandemic’s last hour on extending the travel mask mandate. Is this what the Democrats mean by getting their message out?
With Election Day around the corner (6 mos.), Mr. Henninger defines the political landscape:
Most voters see House and Senate Democrats as largely irrelevant to their lives, which today consist of climbing out of a pandemic amid rising inflation, crime and illegal border crossings.
That the Democrats are about to tumble down the mountain has nothing to do with their unheard message and everything to do with conscious policy choices.