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The media consensus is as deafening as it is overwhelming:
Joe Biden and the Democrats are headed for a catastrophic November.
They are going to be eviscerated in the midterms, an absolutely devastating wipeout.
Even Charles Blow, perhaps the most liberal columnist on the New York Times op-ed page, has a piece titled “A Biden Blood Bath?”
Blow says voters “feel stuck and angry, they’re tired and overwhelmed, and that energy is being directed at Biden.” And while he gives the president a partial pass by saying “he is being punished for not being a huckster,” that doesn’t change his gloom-and-doom prediction.
The apocalyptic headlines are just about everywhere:
Daily Beast: “Biden and Democrats Should be Absolutely Terrified by New Poll Numbers.”
Former President Trump has long referred to his political rival as “Sleepy” Joe Biden.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Axios: “Dems Air Anxieties After Biden’s Brutal NBC Poll.”
The Hill: “Biden is Handing the Midterms to the GOP.”
CNN: “It is a pretty dark time to be a Democrat facing voters this fall.”
FROM CNN PLUS TO OAN, WHY SOME MEDIA OUTLETS ARE STRUGGLING
I’m not here to say that these analyses are wrong. Voters are fed up and the Democrats control the White House and Congress.
Yes, there are the usual caveats about how the party in power almost always loses seats in a president’s first midterm, and how plenty can change in the six months before the election.
But this media cacophony is having an echo-chamber effect, taking an awful situation for the Democrats and making it even worse. I’m not suggesting that journalists are hyping it – they are doing their jobs – but it’s a vicious cycle for Biden’s party.
The more the headlines are filled with projections of a midterm calamity, the more dejected Democratic voters will be, and more likely to stay home.
The more negativity in the media, the less likely big-time donors will want to ante up for what appears to be a losing cause. And both of those developments, in turn, can further depress poll numbers.
If there’s one debate in the press, it’s whether the Democrats’ deep decline is primarily because of the messenger or because of the message.
CNN, MSNBC, NBC News and more liberal media networks expressed concern in early 2022 that the Democrats could lose the midterms to Republicans.
There’s no getting away from the substance. Biden’s record now includes 8.5 percent inflation, more COVID-19 surges and breakthrough infections, and a mess at the border that will undoubtedly get worse under a new policy shift.
RISING INFLATION FUELS DEMOCRATIC FEARS AS BIDEN FACES MOUNTING WOES
Allies argue that he also created millions of jobs and that virus deaths have plummeted. I happen to think that he’s done a good job of leading the western alliance on Ukraine, though he’s certainly been too cautious, but economically anxious voters are giving him little credit for that.
What’s more, the president hasn’t been able to deliver on promises about immigration, police reform, gun control and climate change. Instead, he kept pushing for billions more in spending that was never going to pass the Senate as the party’s progressives pushed cultural controversies out of step with most voters.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 3, 2021.
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)
Biden’s weaknesses as a messenger have hurt him as well. At 79, he’s never been a great orator, but his stumbles – such as declaring that he wants Vladimir Putin out of power – don’t add to a sense that he’s got things under control.
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What’s more, by muting his media megaphone – one sitdown interview this year, weekends in Delaware, a dull Twitter feed – he leaves a void to be filled by detractors, Republicans, the former guy and the pundits.
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The press is right that Biden and his party appear heading for a shellacking – and the clock is ticking on whether the president can change that perception.