Opinion: The surprising reason for Joe Biden’s low approval rating

Editor’s note: David Mascitra is the author of “I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters” and “Mellencamp: American Troubadour.” He has written for numerous publications on politics, music and literature, including Salon, No Depression, the Progressive, CounterPunch and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. See more opinion on CNN.


One of the most obvious realities of American politics is that the Republican Party, whose members have spouted increasingly hateful rhetoric, is blocking President Joe Biden’s reform efforts to improve people’s lives. What is much less recognized is that a significant fraction of the left is also undermining any hope for improvement in a country grappling with an unprecedented crisis. attacks on democracy, escalation of hate crimes and armed violence, global warming and extreme income inequality.

Commentators offer different theories to explain Biden’s low approval ratings, but many miss the importance of partisan loyalty. Gallup polls show that support for Biden among Democrats has fallen from 95% at the start of his presidency to 85% at the start of 2022. Trump, by contrast, had only lost 1% Republicans over a similar period during his presidency, dropping from 87% to 86% approval. What could likely account for Biden’s relatively worse losses among members of his own party is the insidious influence of what I call the “fan fiction left.”

Increasingly dominant on the internet – especially social media and the podcast sphere – left-wing fan fiction imagines an alternate universe where the Republican Party, with its Trump affiliation and authoritarian tendencies, is not the main problem of American politics. Instead, from this point of view, the only obstacle to the adoption of a just and beneficial public policy is the lack of will within the Democratic Party.

Much worse than teenagers writing an expansion for their favorite anime series or video game, left-wing fan fiction encourages its audience, which the writer or podcast says often rivals those of mainstream publications and programs, to act in accordance with his strange delusions. Hallucination is central to their magical world of pretend. Enter this world and you will learn the following:

  • Bernie Sanders would have won the 2016 and 2020 DNC primaries if not for intra-party rigging. He would also have easily won the two presidential elections. The fact that in both races he won millions less votes that their respective adversaries is insignificant to leftist fan fiction, which has cultivated its own big lie.
  • Even though powerful Republicans believe in neo-Nazis “great replacement theory’, voter suppression and racist gerrymandering are frequentand many states are passing legislative assaults on Women’s rights and LGBTQ rightsconcerns about racism, sexism and homophobia are only bourgeois identity politics.
  • Trump supporters, no matter how hateful, irrational and violent they become, are just deceived the members of the proletariat class. Although the evidence shows that his fans are not poorthat Biden won more voices among Americans earning less than $50,000, and those earning less than $100,000 elsewhere and that the true motives of the Trump cult are racism, nativism, and Christian fundamentalism, fan fiction left to its subscribers would have most Trump supporters believe to be modern incarnations of Tom Joad, the protagonist of John’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Steinbeck. With just a few speeches, Sanders would have converted them to democratic socialism. Likewise, Trump’s danger warnings are signs of “liberal hysteria”.
  • “Russiagate” was a “prank“, just like Trump himself falsely complaints. The surveys and even the leaked Kremlin documents Showing exactly how Russian President Vladimir Putin influenced the 2016 election through a sophisticated disinformation campaign makes no sense.
  • The United States should not to bring assistance to the Ukrainian struggle for freedom and self-determination, and does so only to enrich the military-industrial complex. Support for Ukraine is unfair, because the aggression of the United States and NATO provoked Putin to the invasion.
  • Republican extremism and obstructionism are irrelevant, as are the federal government’s structural and procedural laws. The only reason President Biden and the Democratic Congress have failed to pass major reforms, like the Green New Deal or the tuition-free community college, is because Democrats have exhausted business interests, and refuse to make a real effort.

It’s likely that these ideas play a part in the divergence in party loyalty that lowers Biden’s approval rating to Trump levels, but more importantly, it illustrates the venomous effect the left is having on Democratic voters. potentials.

Considering that its fabulists if regularly and aggressively ridicule the Democrats, they are operationally right wing. The impact of leftist fan fiction, whatever the intent, is to dampen voter enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. As a result, it helps Republicans seize and retain power. Judging by popular social media accounts, millions of young progressives to believe that, if he only wanted to, Biden could cast a spell and, by a wizard’s decree, turn the United States into Finland.

An emblematic example emerged recently when several leading left-wing pundits said they were “Done with the Democrats” in reaction to news that the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It is inconsistent to blame the Democratic Party, given that they are Democratic governors, like Jay Pritzker from illinois, Gavin Newsom from California and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who have sworn to protect the reproductive rights of women in their states, and he is a Republican governors like Brian Kemp in Georgia and Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma and the Supreme Court Republican presidential nominations that are on the verge of eliminating women’s autonomy.

Observable reality has nothing to do with this faction of the left. The the only thing that counts is that President Barack Obama and the Democrats did not codify Roe v. Wade as federal law when they controlled Congress from 2009 to 2011. But that argument ignores that Obama and Democrat lawmakers spent those two years pushing through a massive recovery plan in the midst of financial collapse, then passing the most significant expansion of the welfare state since the 1960s, the Affordable Care Actwhich allowed more than 20 million Americans receiving health care for the first time.

Obama also nominated Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, both of whom pledged to protect women’s right to choose. He also nominated Merrick Garland, now Attorney General, to the Supreme Court and met with a dishonest blockade of GOP senators. Based on Garland opposition anti-abortion law in Texas, he likely would have voted for Roe.

Last month, the US Senate attempted to codify Roe. All but one Democrat — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — voted in favour. All Republicans voted against.

Of course, the women’s rights crisis wouldn’t exist if Hillary Clinton won the 2016 presidential election and nominated three Supreme Court justices in place of Trump. But many prominent left-wing leaders have happily called on people don’t vote for clinton.

Leftist fan fiction is not without precedent. George Orwell, a socialistcame to believe that the left of his time did not really want to hold power and that for them political thought was nothing but a “masturbation fantasy in which the world of facts hardly matters. Ernst Thalmann, the leader of the German Communist Party from 1925 to 1933, believed that the center left presented a greater danger than Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Needless to say, this scan didn’t go so well.

Democrats certainly have flaws. They are rhetorically passive, disorganized, and seem to base their strategy on how not to lose rather than how to win, which usually guarantees failure. The party also deserves harsh criticism for taking a half-hearted approach to punishing Trump and his allies for insurrection. Despite significant weaknesses, they have the advantage of not being racist, sexist, homophobic or hostile to the foundations of democracy. Real-world residents should vote accordingly.

About Timothy Ball

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