The midterm elections are just four weeks away, and former President Donald Trump is busily campaigning for Republicans in crucial contests. Joe Biden, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found.
It’s quite odd, given Biden’s past performance as a “road warrior,” traveling the country to support fellow Democrats. Back during the 2018 midterms, for example, the former vice president traveled to roughly two dozen states to attend rallies, fundraisers, and other stops, supporting 65 candidates as one of the best-known Democrats in the nation. In one week, he attended 12 rallies.
This time around, however, Biden seems to be sitting campaign events out (although he’s still traveling, just not for congressional Democrats). His public schedule in the last two weeks shows he attended three fundraising events for Democrats (one for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the home of James and Kathryn Murdoch, no less), but nothing directly affiliated with a candidate.
This keep-the-president-at-a-distance approach seems to be congressional Democrats’ strategy as Nov. 8 nears. When asked whether she would like Biden to join her on the campaign trail in the battleground state of New Hampshire, former governor and first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan told Fox News, “My job is to be an independent voice for New Hampshire. That’s the role I’ve always worked to play and be for Granite Staters.”
First-term Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, when asked the same question by reporters in Georgia, distanced himself: “Regardless of who else comes to Georgia, or doesn’t come, at the end of the day the people of Georgia have a very clear choice between me and Herschel Walker. That’s who’s running.”
Why are Democrats so loath to speak the president’s name and tout his support? One look at his horrendous approval ratings gives a pretty good idea. What with skyrocketing inflation, energy costs, and crime — not to mention flirting with nuclear war with Russia — Democrats think that by distancing themselves from Biden and his crisis-plagued presidency, they might also distance themselves from the issues at the forefront of American’s minds (hint: it’s not abortion).
A Washington Post op-ed notes that while Biden’s net approval rating is 7 percentage points in the negative, Democratic congressional candidates are unaffected, as they lead Republicans in national House polls. Setting aside the extreme unreliability and partisanship of polls, which the left typically uses to shape rather than reflect public opinion, The Washington Post is really saying the Democrats’ midterm strategy out loud: Namely, candidates are distancing themselves from Biden to avoid getting slaughtered at the ballot box.
“If Biden’s net approval — the difference between his approval rating and his disapproval rating — were the only factor in the midterm elections, the Republicans would win the House by a healthy margin,” writes Washington Post opinion columnist David Byler. “…Voters still might start to blame Democrats for the economy and Biden’s policy disappointments, allowing the GOP to retake the lead before November. But for now, they’re letting Democrats distance themselves from Biden…”
To that end, Biden has made only nine official endorsements this election cycle, compared to more than 100 in 2018 and nearly 50 during the 2020 cycle.
Contrast Biden’s marked absence on the campaign trail with former President Donald Trump. After endorsing Republican candidates for nearly 200 races in 39 out of 50 states, the leader of the Republican Party and the 2024 presidential front-runner has been actively campaigning for candidates in key battlegrounds. This past weekend, he held a rally for Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and U.S. Senate hopeful Blake Masters in Mesa, as well as a rally in Nevada. And he’s been traveling throughout the country campaigning for Republican candidates he’s endorsed in an effort to boost GOP turnout in November.
It looks like it’s working, as Trump’s endorsements actually make a difference. In the primaries, candidates backed by Trump won 92 percent of the time.
“The endorsements make him the most prominent figure in the Republican party,” GOP activist Charles Coughlin told the BBC. “And it increases his influence when Republicans are constantly asking for his endorsement.”
As Republicans seek the former president’s support, he appears just as eager to give it. Trump reportedly plans to ramp up his engagements in October by hosting rallies, robocalls, tele-town halls, and fundraisers for Republican candidates. His rallies so far have already attracted thousands of supporters.
“Nobody turns out conservative voters better than Donald Trump does,” GOP pollster Jim McLaughlin told The Washington Post.
How surprising that Trump, supposedly the most politically toxic political figure in the history of the United States, is now making his rounds across the country to help Republican candidates in crucial midterm contests. Meanwhile, the sitting president, once the most coveted speaker for Democrats, is being shoved in a closet. Democrats don’t want Biden anywhere near their candidates, so he’s been relegated to fundraiser.