A handful of off-year races don’t define what will happen a year from now, but yesterday’s obvious rebuke to the Republicans in certain significant states ought at least to let Democrats take a pause form their poll-focused hand-wringing. It is simply the fact that, despite being one of the most effective presidents in decades – perhaps the most effective since LBJ if not FDR, – President Biden seems to get no popular credit. After a stunning display of world leadership regarding Ukraine, he doesn’t even get credit for that in the polls. For whatever reason, the most ordinary, humanly likable President in decades is personally unpopular. That matters, and it should worry Democrats. But, as yesterday’s results show, Democrats are also popular, and their signature issues are apparently even more so.
What this may mean long-term, no one really knows – not even the all-knowing media pundits and prognosticators. (Only in today’s bizarrely speeded-up world would 2024 be considered long-term!) One thing that it does mean, however, is that the electorate is more discerning than the simplistic portrait painted by the polls might suggest.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what, if any, effect this injection of electoral reality may have on tonight’s Republican debate among the competitors to qualify as Trump’s runner-up and on the new House Speaker and his cronies’ handling of the impending government shutdown.