Good morning, it’s Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Embracing a “better late than never” attitude, President Biden is calling on his fellow Democrats to respond to their party’s disappointing showing in Tuesday’s elections by passing his long-stalled social infrastructure legislation.
“People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from COVID to school, to jobs to a whole range of things,” Biden said Wednesday at the White House. “If I’m able to pass and sign into law my Build Back Better initiative, I’m in a position where you’re going to see a lot of those things ameliorated quickly and swiftly.”
If you think about it, this was a sly way of shifting blame for the Democrats’ woes away from the man who leads the party. But Biden’s point makes sense: Partisan gridlock is one thing, but intra-party dysfunction certainly didn’t help Democratic candidates make their case in Virginia, New Jersey, and a smattering of other places that held elections this week.
“We’ve got to get outside of our comfort zones,” Rep. James E. Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, told the Washington Post. “The moderates don’t want to trust the progressives; the progressives don’t want to trust the moderates. If we want to be successful, we’ve got to get beyond that.”
In an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, the most influential of those moderates concurred. “This is a shame when we start this war of words,” Sen. Joe Manchin told Baier. “We can have a difference of opinion, [but] the rhetoric around here has gotten so harsh and so toxic that you can’t agree to disagree anymore.”
But what really “scares the bejesus” out of him, Manchin added, is what isn’t heard on Capitol Hill much anymore. “I don’t hear people saying, ‘This is good for our country.’ It’s more or less on both sides – ‘It’s better for my party; this is better for the 2022 elections.’”
The antidote, of course, would be for swing voters to get wise to such cynicism — and stop rewarding it in the voting booth. They could use some help in this endeavor from the media. In other words, I’d suggest to my colleagues in the press corps that the increasing polarization — not to mention overt partisanship — inside our own newsrooms isn’t helping matters.
On that note, I’d direct you to RCP’s front page, which contains the latest poll averages, political news and video, aggregated opinion pieces ranging across the ideological spectrum — and much debate coverage. We also have a complement of original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors:
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Three Takeaways From Virginia and New Jersey. Sean Trende has this analysis of Democrats’ disappointing showing on Tuesday.
The Lessons From Virginia’s Elections Aren’t What You Think. Maria Cardona argues that the GOP hasn’t found a blueprint for 2022 success.
Virginia — Trump’s First 2024 Bellwether. Pam Bondi sees signs of a MAGA resurgence in Glenn Youngkin’s victory.
Biden Administration Got Its EU Steel Tariff Deal Right. Scott Paul writes that the agreement is a win-win, and puts China on notice.
Migrant Surge at the Border Fuels Massive Drug ODs. Smugglers have orchestrated the flood of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border to divert law enforcement from the inflow of deadly fentanyl, Vince Bielski reports for RealClearInvestigations.
Kissinger’s Needless Worry About Machine Learning Future. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny sees more upside than does the former secretary of state, who expressed trepidation about AI in a piece he co-authored for the Wall Street Journal.
Lab-Grown Meat: Juicy With Promise or Nothingburger? Also at RCMarkets, Will Coggin considers predictions that cultivated meat will be competitive with conventional meat by 2030.
Accept Reality on North Korea. At RealClearWorld, Sascha Glaeser warns that demanding Kim Jong-un give up his deterrent capability prevents diplomacy from taking place.
New Front in the School Choice Fight. At RealClearEducation, Max Eden and Tracey Schirra highlight an innovative approach to opening charter schools in Colorado.
Survey Shows Students Value Being Part of Our Civic Polity. At RealClear’s American Civics Portal, Samuel J. Abrams highlights some surprising results.
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Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics