On Biden’s Watch, Americans Grow More Pessimistic

As Americans Lose Optimism About The Direction Of The Country, Democrats Plow Ahead With Bad Policies Fueling Anxiety Among Voters And Continue To Tell Themselves That Citizens’ Serious Concerns Over Inflation, Crime, And Radical Ideas In Schools Aren’t Real


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “American families are anxious and uneasy. The share of Americans who feel optimistic about our country’s direction has plummeted by almost 20 percent just since the springtime. As recently as early May, nearly two thirds of Americans said they were optimistic about the direction of the country. That was the highest figure that survey had recorded in 14 years. But that has plummeted. Late last week, a new survey found that optimism is now a minority position. 55% of Americans are pessimistic. Unfortunately, American families have ample reason to feel this way. The end of June clocked the highest annual inflation spike in more than a decade. The Democrats’ stay-home bonus to workers who remain unemployed has slowed the recovery and helped keep workforce participation stagnant. Meanwhile, last year, as the far left put the squeeze on law enforcement funding in cities across the country, America faced a 25% increase in homicides.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/26/2021)

  • “This turn toward pessimism is especially stunning – and especially sad – because President Biden took office with every wind at his back. Things were set up for roaring success like no other presidential transition in recent memory…. But those incredible tailwinds have largely been squandered. That historic head start has been wasted through bad policy and, in many cases, needlessly divisive leadership. After a poorly-targeted partisan spending package that even liberal economists warned could cause more inflation, American families are now feeling the pain and literally paying the price…. After a year of anti-police, anti-rule-of-law rhetoric from too many on the political left, a violent crime surge is hammering communities and making streets less safe across our country…. This is how you take a country from near-record optimism to serious pessimism in just two months’ time.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/26/2021)
  • “And our Democratic friends’ big master plan is yet another reckless taxing and spending spree — but even larger? Washington Democrats’ big idea is to borrow, print, and spend our way to even more inflation and even higher costs for American families? Along with an historic set of big tax hikes? My friends across the aisle and down Pennsylvania Avenue should be less concerned about checking left-wing items off activists’ wish lists. As more and more of Democrats’ partisan agenda comes online, the American people’s pessimism grows and grows. The families of this country need a better approach.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 7/26/2021)


According To An ABC Poll, ‘Americans’ Optimism About The Direction Of The Country Has Plummeted Nearly 20 Points’ In Just 2 Months

“As President Joe Biden completed 100 days in office, the country was optimistic about the coming year, but now, just after hitting the six-month mark, Americans’ optimism about the direction of the country has plummeted nearly 20 points, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.” (“Americans’ Optimism About Country’s Direction Over Next Year Drops Nearly 20 Points Since May: POLL,” ABC News, 7/25/2021)

  • “A majority -- 55% -- of the public say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the roughly one-third (36%) that said the same in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published May 2. In the early May survey, Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic by a 28-percentage point margin. Optimism is now under water by 10 points. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, fewer than half -- 45% -- now report feeling optimistic about the way things are going, a significant drop from about two-thirds (64%) in the May poll.” (“Americans’ Optimism About Country’s Direction Over Next Year Drops Nearly 20 Points Since May: POLL,” ABC News, 7/25/2021)


Polling Shows ‘An Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Are Concerned About Inflation’ …

CBS NEWS POLL: “[W]ith spending comes the specter of inflation, and most Americans report feeling its effects in the price of basic goods and services. Large majorities of Americans say they are paying more these days for gasoline, groceries and food, as well as electricity and power. Those across all income levels say they have noticed increasing prices for these items.” (“Biden Nets Positive Marks For Handling Pandemic, But Vaccine Resistance, Delta Concern Remains - CBS News Poll,” CBS News, 7/19/2021)

“An overwhelming majority of Americans are concerned about inflation, and they’re not uniformly confident in the government’s ability to reel it in, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll shared exclusively with The Hill. In total, 85 percent of respondents say that they’re at least somewhat concerned about inflation, including 45 percent who say that they’re ‘very concerned.’ The rising worries come on the heels of news that the consumer price index rose 0.6 percent last month as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.” (“Poll: Concern About Inflation Rises As Economy Recovers From Pandemic,” The Hill, 6/22/2021)

“A top party pollster and senior adviser to the Biden political team is urging Democrats to confront the problem of rising prices — which she says is starting to bite with voters. … Celinda Lake, who polled for the Biden presidential campaign and still advises Team Biden, told Axios that worries about inflation are coming through loud and clear in both public polls and her own focus groups. … Lake said Democrats can’t afford to ignore the inflation issue or hope it goes away; they need to tackle it head on. She’s advised Democratic elected officials to make clear to voters that they understand their lived experiences of higher costs of health care and daily goods — and that they have ideas for how to make the cost of living more affordable.” (“Biden Pollster’s Inflation Warning,” Axios, 7/21/2021)


… But ‘For Democrats, The Pain Of Inflation Is No Reason To Stop Spending’

NBC NEWS: ‘For Democrats, the pain of inflation is no reason to stop spending’ (NBC News, 7/26/2021)

Inflation doesn’t matter. That’s the message Democratic leaders are sending as they try to push more than $4 trillion into the economy to build infrastructure, fight climate change and ease the financial cost of child and elder care for families. President Joe Biden says the 5.4 percent increase in the price of a basket of goods over the 12 months that ended in June is ‘temporary’ … The suggestion is that more federal spending will more than counteract inflation …” (“For Democrats, The Pain Of Inflation Is No Reason To Stop Spending,” NBC News, 7/26/2021)

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, dismissed concerns about the inflation spike as a function of Republicans’ doing ‘their best’ to ‘gin this up.’ But what top Democrats are really saying, at a time when Republicans warn that a record infusion of government spending would hypercharge inflation, is that short-term price spikes aren’t relevant to their attempts to expand the role of the federal government…. ‘Of course we care about inflation,’ Stabenow said. ‘To me, this is not a reason not to move forward at all.’” (“For Democrats, The Pain Of Inflation Is No Reason To Stop Spending,” NBC News, 7/26/2021)

“‘Even if I thought there were a serious inflation problem, it is hard to argue that 50 years from now the question will be how did this Congress manage transitory inflation,’ said progressive Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who said he doesn’t believe lawmakers have to choose between controlling inflation and enacting Biden’s twin spending bills. ‘The question that everyone’s going to be looking at 50 years from now is did we address the planetary crisis when we could or did we not.’” (“For Democrats, The Pain Of Inflation Is No Reason To Stop Spending,” NBC News, 7/26/2021)


‘Concerns About Crime … Have Surged To The Top Of Issues That Worry Americans’ …

“A large majority of voters agree that 2021’s rise in violent crime in the United States is a significant, increasing problem, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll... Roughly 3 in 4 voters (78 percent) said they believe violent crime is a ‘major problem’ in the United States, and a similar share (73 percent) said it is on the rise after weeks of news about shootings and the proliferation of videos online showing violent incidents nationwide.” (“Most Voters See Violent Crime as a Major and Increasing Problem. But They’re Split on Its Causes and How to Fix It,” Morning Consult, 7/14/2021)

“Concerns about crime and gun violence have surged to the top of issues that worry Americans, a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds… In the survey, 7 in 10 supported increasing police department budgets; 77% said they would like additional police officers deployed on street patrols.” (USA Today, 7/08/2021)

“Violent crime is on the rise in urban areas across the country. Many small cities that typically have relatively few murders are seeing significant increases over last year. Killings in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas, and Pittsburgh, for example, have about doubled so far in 2021, while Portland, Ore., has had five times as many murders compared to last year, according to data compiled by Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and co-founder of AH Datalytics. Most cities in the United States, including each of those named above, have a Democratic mayor. After protests last year over police violence against Black Americans — notably the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis — there has been a push from the left to ‘defund’ police departments. As a result, several cities, including Austin and New York, have reduced or reallocated police budgets …” (“Rising Violent Crime Is Likely To Present A Political Challenge For Democrats In 2022,” NPR, 7/22/2021)


… But Democrats Keep Treating Rising Crime Simply As A Political Messaging Problem

“Biden met at the White House with urban leaders — including Eric Adams, the heavy favorite to be the next mayor of New York City — about increased shootings, as Democrats warily watch a surge across the nation…. The meeting was the second in just three weeks, underscoring the political concern crime has become for Democrats as they look to protect their thin margins in Congress. Big city mayors and lawmakers have sounded the alarm on the rise in crime, believed partly fueled by destabilizing forces of the pandemic, and polls suggest it is an increasing matter of concern for many Americans.” (“Biden Balances Fighting Rising Crime, Reforming Police,” The Associated Press, 7/12/2021)

“In response, Democratic strategists believe Democratic candidates and the White House need to take on the issue of crime directly…. Democratic candidates are being encouraged by the party to tout accomplishments …” (“Rising Violent Crime Is Likely To Present A Political Challenge For Democrats In 2022,” NPR, 7/22/2021)


Polling Also Increasingly Shows Growing Opposition From Parents To School Boards Forcing Radical Ideas On Students, Including Critical Race Theory …

“In Loudoun County, Va., where heated opposition to the district’s plans to implement new diversity initiatives has led to an attempted recall of board members, culminating in a viral school board meeting in June where two protesters were arrested, organizers have similarly noticed support coming from outside the Republican Party. A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in early June for the anti-critical race theory advocacy group Fight for Schools found that 48 percent of independent voters and 59 percent of public school parents overall in Loudoun and neighboring Fairfax County viewed critical race theory negatively, while 31 percent and 39 percent of each group had positive views. Biden won Loudoun County by 62 percent to 37 percent over Trump, and Fairfax by 70-28.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)

‘Parents Who Are Showing Up To School Board Meetings And Have Helped Launch A Spate Of Recall Elections Say They Are Angry About A Host Of Issues … And [Say They Are] Are Being Ignored’

“Parents who are showing up to school board meetings and have helped launch a spate of recall elections say they are angry about a host of issues, including what they see as a myopic focus on diversity at school boards, ongoing frustration over a year of closed schools and school lesson plans that they say are becoming too progressive, too fast. While those complaints have often been branded in the media as ‘anti-critical race theory,’ the causes of the anger are varied, and are being ignored, parents say.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)

“Elina Kaplan is the kind of suburban mom who made Joe Biden president. An immigrant who came to the United States from the Soviet Union, she is a registered Democrat from San Mateo County, Calif. And she’s alarmed over her state’s new model ethnic studies curriculum, which cites critical race theory as a ‘key theoretical framework and pedagogy.’ ‘I firmly believe that if the vast majority of Californians and Americans knew about this, and about the content of this type of curriculum, this would not be happening. We would not be having this conversation,’ Kaplan said.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)

  • “Kaplan felt there were numerous issues with the model curriculum. Drafts, for example, included criticisms of capitalism, at one point referring to it as a ‘system of power’ and suggesting students study how capitalism has been used to oppress people. The first draft put little focus on anti-Semitism but included sample teachings about Palestine, upsetting Jewish leaders in the state.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)
  • “Kaplan, who has launched an email list, set up meetings with state legislators and recruited people to meet with their school boards to discuss ethnic studies, is representative of Democrat-leaning or politically moderate suburbanites interviewed by POLITICO in six states, all but one of which were won by Biden. They are up in arms over their school systems’ new equity initiatives, which they argue are costly and divisive, encouraging students to group themselves by race and take pro-activist stances.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)

“One parent in Novi, Mich., a diverse suburb outside Detroit with prized public schools, said she started reading up on critical race theory after her daughter, a recent high school graduate, started raising the idea of defunding police departments and arguing that rioters who looted stores during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests were justified. The parent — who asked to not be named because of the heated politics in Novi — said she has in the past voted for Democrats, but she considers her daughter’s ideas ‘radical.’ She and other parents formed an anonymous group to question the school board. ‘Based on everything I have seen in the last year, starting with Covid, I cannot continue [voting for Democratic candidates] in good faith,’ she said.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)


… But Democrats Telling Themselves It’s ‘Another Right-Wing Conspiracy’ ‘Appear To Be Underestimating Parents’ Anger’ Which ‘Extend[s] To Many Moderate And Independent Voters’

“On the national level, Democrats have insisted that the brush fires over critical race theory … are largely the work of right-wing activists who willfully misrepresent what it means, and they blame Fox News for fanning parents’ anger…. But those Democrats appear to be underestimating parents’ anger in places where critical race theory is top of mind. Objections to new equity plans are not the sole province of conservatives but extend to many moderate and independent voters, according to POLITICO interviews with school board members, political operatives and activists in Democratic and left-leaning communities including the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; New York’s Westchester County; Maricopa County covering Phoenix, Ariz.; and suburban Detroit.” (“‘People Are Scared’: Democrats Lose Ground On School Equity Plans,” Politico, 7/26/2021)



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