Despite outward signs of assurance, concern among the White House and its ally Democrats that Republicans will take control of at least one chamber of Congress and possibly both is growing.
However, despite these worries, President Joe Biden intends to mostly stay out of the race during the next two weeks.
Biden’s next two years would be greatly complicated by Republican control of Congress, which may also affect his decision to run for another four years. Despite past trends suggesting otherwise, the president’s inner circle and party leaders have remained optimistic that they can preserve control of the legislative branch. But recently, according to more than a dozen people who were provided anonymity so they could openly share private talks, they have started to voice intense private concern about a number of races, pointing to the campaign’s late-breaking focus on the economy and crime.
Biden has expressed a strong desire to see Republican incumbent Ron Johnson upset in Wisconsin’s Senate race, but officials believe that will be difficult because they fear that Democrat Mandela Barnes may prove to be too liberal for some of the state’s voters. As Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt, an election sceptic, are locked in a close race, Nevada is seen as the Republicans’ greatest chance to win up seats.
Party officials in Pennsylvania admit that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s margin has decreased, but he still had a sizable lead at the beginning of the week. But his weak performance in the debate on Tuesday night brought up new concerns for some in the West Wing about his progress in recovering from a recent stroke and how it would affect the electorate.
There has also been a great deal of dissatisfaction with the tentative gubernatorial campaign being run by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Hobbs and GOP nominee Kari Lake, who is also an election sceptic and a former TV anchor who has already been mentioned as a potential 2024 GOP running mate, are currently tied in the polls.
Officials from the party acknowledge in private that keeping the House is unlikely and cite the economy, redistricting, and historical challenges as grounds for failure.
“The atmosphere is unpleasant. The economy and inflation are the main issues facing the GOP right now, according to Robert Gibbs, a former press secretary to former President Barack Obama. “The turnout factor will be a wild card; do Democrats have voters? However, even if it is not the White House’s fault, everyone can still feel the expense of things.
There are few, if any, pivot points left on which individual races can shift with less than two weeks until the election. The one remaining factor is a presidential stop, which is typically advantageous to a campaign because it will undoubtedly dominate local headlines and result in a spike in early voting or voter registration.
However, Biden has stayed away from campaigning in several of the crucial states that will determine whether his party can keep control of either chamber due to his low approval ratings. He has primarily remained in Washington, attempting to frame the stakes of the election from a distance, though he will launch a late blitz over Pennsylvania, a Biden political bastion with big 2024 repercussions.
Air Force One has been mostly grounded as a result of Biden’s travel itinerary, which has evolved into a delicate ballet between the White House, the national party, and the individual campaigns.
Biden has hosted significantly fewer events in the final weeks leading up to the election than did his immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, in the final weeks of their own first midterm election season. The president is scheduled to travel to upstate New York on Thursday, but he did not campaign during the last weekend and currently has no plans to do so this weekend, just ten days before election day. He has decided to stay in one of his Delaware houses on both weekends instead.
The White House responds that Biden is contributing significantly in less obvious ways. They point out that Biden has essentially been soliciting money for Democrats and repeating the overarching themes the party wishes to emphasise. Officials in the White House are supplementing his campaign travel with events closer to home because they think this will still allow him to address Republicans and use the bully pulpit.
Although Biden has voiced a desire to campaign more, he has given in to suggestions that he can assist in other ways, telling allies that he would be content to stay off the campaign trail if it meant maintaining the Senate. He avoided Arizona and Nevada on a recent trip to the West because neither campaign invited him to participate in their campaigns, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Biden’s itinerary was instead centred on ceremonial occasions and fundraisers in California, Colorado, and Oregon.
Aides point out that despite their election campaigns, Obama and Trump faced difficult midterm periods. Additionally, they are attempting to polish Biden’s closing statement for the election.
He went to the national party headquarters on Monday to encourage the staff. Instead, he started a 34-minute long litany of the party’s achievements. To avoid making the same mistakes they did in the past by failing to market their successes, Biden’s aides have been eager to highlight what they have accomplished.
Party pollsters disagree, saying that in current environment, gloating about accomplishments is tone-deaf. Some people in the president’s inner circle have urged him to demonstrate more empathy, which is Biden’s strong strength. They claim that the president should emphasise that he understands Americans’ uneasiness at this time of inflation and economic concern and that he will do everything in his power to help. Aides also emphasised that Biden will concentrate on the dangers that Republicans who support the Big Lie would pose to the nation’s democracies and how GOP plans could endanger Medicaid and Social Security.