By Dave Andrusko
The latest job approval numbers for President Biden is 43% approval versus 56% disapproval—a -13. The average spread for the Real Clear Politics collection of the latest polls is a -10.5%. Sobering numbers.
Obviously, the President is exerting a tremendous drag on his party’s candidates as reflected in “Another retirement spells even more trouble for House Democrats,” by CNN’s Chris Cillizza.
On Monday, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) announced he will not run for another term, instead will run for governor. “Suozzi is the 18th Democrat in the House planning to retire or run for higher office in 2022,” Cillizza writes. “By contrast, Republicans have only 11 members retiring. For context, at this point in the 2020 election cycle, only eight Democrats had called it quits as compared to 20 Republicans.”
That’s quite some “context”!
Cillizza does not tip-toe around his party’s dismal 2022 prospects.
Even in a neutral national environment, those seats would be very hard for Democrats to hold. In an environment like this one — the first midterm of a presidency with Biden’s approval numbers stuck in the low 40s — not only are seats that Trump carried in danger but also seats like Suozzi’s could be too. (Suozzi was on a February list of 47 Democrats that Republicans planned to make serious runs at next year.)
Of course, there is no one reason but many: ambition for higher office, age, redistricting, etc.
But the common denominator among many is the lesson they drew from Terry McAuliffe’s defeat in Virginia. As Cillizza writes
Remember that Biden carried Virginia by 10 points in 2020 while Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin won the state by 2 points earlier this month. Meaning that the electorate was roughly 12 points more Republican in Virginia in 2021 than it was in 2020. If that sort of trend holds, there are a whole lot of Democratic seats — including Suozzi’s that could well be in danger. [Underlining added.]
Two Democratic committee chairs have made it clear they will be retiring which “doesn’t usually happen if there is a belief within the caucus that they will continue to hold the majority.”
Cillizza’s conclusion pulled no punches:
The problem for Democrats is all of this feeds on itself in a negative cycle. Members retire because they think the political landscape looks bleak, which makes the political landscape bleak(er), which leads more members to retire, which makes the political environment — well, you get it.
Suozzi’s retirement — in and of itself — isn’t the problem. But it’s a symptom of Democrats’ broader issues heading into next year.