Why Joe Biden needs to worry about Williams

This article is part of The DC Brief, TIME’s political newsletter. Participation Here To get such stories sent to your inbox every day of the week.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein is a shrewd political player as you’ll encounter in Washington. Having worked in all three branches of government for nearly four decades in this city, he knows both the mechanics and mindset of success as measured within the Beltway. He is also well aware that, at times, facts are irrelevant to the politics of the moment.

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So when Klein gave his assessment of voters’ mood earlier this month, it was impossible to ignore the challenge he posed to fellow Democrats. “We still have a lot of work to do,” Klein said I acknowledge To CNN on November 11, “I think voters are in show mode don’t tell me.”

In other words, Klein and his boss, President Joe Biden, are right to be fickle about their prime position as they head into the Thanksgiving holiday as everything — gas to take home, meal prep items, and electricity to run a dishwasher — costs more than it did weeks ago. few. And that, more than anything being proposed to the Senate, is the most realistic thing for voters right now, and it doesn’t bode well for Democrats. During last month’s election for Virginia’s governor, 33% of all voters She said The economy was the number one issue, and among that segment the GOP candidate had a 10 percentage point advantage.

The mentality is not without merit. Prices over the past year go up Its fastest click since November of 1990, at a staggering 6.2%. Even without the often-liquid food and energy costs, the cost has jumped year on year at the fastest gallop speed since August 1991, and is still up 4.6%.

The causes of remarkable inflation are many and varied, from a year of lower spending shutdowns and new government direct payments that resulted in higher savings accounts, to a wage reset for some workers and a Wall Street surge that helped investors. The easiest place to blame is on a subsidized shipping system that has exacerbated supply shortages. But inflation is a complicated mess, and it’s part of a worldwide A development that Biden can’t do much to fix – and which is blamed anyway.

Nationwide, 70% of Americans rate the economy negatively, according to Washington Mail/ ABC News Poll chest last week. 39% of Americans agree with the president’s handling of the economy, and 48% blame Biden for the price hike. Like TIME’s Brian Bennett Considered In the past week, numbers like these have put the president’s agenda at risk.

As much as some economists, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for now, have clinged to claiming that this is a “transition” period for higher costs of goods and services, these analyzes do not change the undeniable fact that even as wages rise from the pandemic, paychecks are not covered Payroll as many slices of pumpkin pie as it did last year. In fact, government data shows that real wages have actually fallen 1.1% over the past year as the purchasing power of the dollar has diminished.

Klein and his team get it. Voters act on sentiment, not facts, and thus healthy macroeconomic trends, such as adding jobs and growing the economy, are less important than the price of milk. That’s why you I see Biden’s team and fellow Coast-to-Coast Democrats look to locate the partisan line last week win over At home on huge social spending law Project As an anti-inflation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is Use Inflation is one of the selling points of his fellow Democrats to better go along with rebuilding.

The White House and its allies were promoting Message by many Nobel laureates endorsing the plan as a way to curb price hikes and confirmed How you can cut costs in family budgets, such as pre-K and prescription drugs. as president himself chirp Last night about that message: “Not one, not two, not sixteen – seventeen Nobel Prize-winning economists agree that the Rebuilding Better Act will ease long-term inflationary pressures and grow our economy.”

A House victory could give Biden a chance to finally find a foothold in Washington and reshape the Board of Directors for about 10 months before his fellow Democrats face voters in 34 Senate races and all 435 House districts. That doesn’t mean next year’s midterm elections Already fearsome among Democrats, who are bracing for heavy losses, it will not be after a referendum on Biden and his party. Inflation is making Democrats perform tougher, especially for income earners who have endured a real-time pay cut.

historicallyIn the White House, the party faces a major blow in its first-term midterm test with voters. There have been 13 times a new president has conducted their first mid-term screening of voters since World War II, and voters have only passed a painful verdict in the House of Representatives once. Regardless of the one exception—2002, when voters were still behind George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks—the party in the White House lost an average of 30 seats in the House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has a majority of eight votes, which means the gavel turns if she loses a net of five seats. (The House has one seat open at the moment, though Democrats is expected to keep it.)

The Senate accounts are somewhat more forgiving with the incumbent party in the White House having avoided setbacks four times in the same period as its first time with voters, but it still faces an average net loss of three seats. But that room is currently split 50-50, which means losing one seat gives Republican leader Mitch McConnell control of the room again. That helps explain why every Democratic senator has pushed hard to build bipartisan infrastructure. plan That Biden has already signed into law. (Can’t believe it’s popular? Strengthen He. She.)

What does this political history have to do with expensive cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes? History shows running against inflation It is also a successful strategy dating back to the mid-term of 1946. With the end of wartime price controls, inflation grew from 2.7% on the day Japan surrendered in 1945 to 14.9% when voters went to the polls the following year. Republicans ran against Harry Truman, who ended World War II victorious, with the anti-inflation slogan “Is Enough?” It swung 55 seats in the House of Representatives and 12 seats in the Senate.

The price hike does not have to be sharp to be a political burden. Lyndon Johnson Great Community Programs Paid It ballooned from 1.3% when he became president to 3.8% when his party faced the electorate in 1966, losing 48 seats in the House and four in the Senate. stagflation stagflation stagflation the seventies– in addition to the Watergate and OPEC crisis, to be fair – they tasked both House Republicans in 1974 and then House Democrats in 1978 as they traded the White House in a shoddy economy.

Here’s the thing about inflation: It’s a very personal experience that affects all Americans, with few exceptions, every swipe of a debit card. Its degree is less important than its emotional impact. Americans are now feeling its effects and tightening their belts as the holiday season approaches. As much as Klain and Co. pay. All is well MESSAGE — A Big Turkey Is Only Costing $1 More This Year Than Last Year, Agriculture Secretary Reminds People — No One Can Deny That Holiday Essentials above 5% by government accounting. (farm office Find A more generous table to cost 14% more.)

Added to that, whether you’re a family that was already on edge a year ago, or a president leaving for Nantucket tomorrow.

Finally, a note about The DC Brief: The newsletter is taking a break for the holidays but will be back the week of November 29th.

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