By Dee Dee Bass Wilbon
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2022 /BPALIVEWIRE/ For months the Biden administration has not been able to stick to its messaging on inflation. Instead, the president responded to the economic crisis facing American families by denying it and ignoring it. In July, President Biden claimed the economy had "zero inflation." The Biden administration also spent the summer sending its top surrogates on a spin tour to redefine the word recession.
After pretending he had everything under control with the economy, President Biden's most robust attempt to address inflation came by signing his Inflation Reduction Act. As we quickly approach the midterms, I ask, as a mother and a political strategist, "when will the Inflation Reduction Act begin to reduce inflation?"
The administration has blamed Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine even though the spike in gas prices began months before Putin invaded Ukraine. The target of blame has also focused on corporate oil executives. Candidate Biden made it clear that he would have his sites on the oil industry and once threatened to jail oil executives if they did not comply with his proposals on climate change.
Democrats in tough races this November see the writing on the wall and have been comfortable pointing out the Biden administration's shortcomings in addressing the economic crisis. Maggie Hassan's first political ad in the early summer acknowledged that gas prices were a big problem and pitted her against President Biden and her party, which she admitted was not doing enough. In addition, we've seen other Democrats in tight races willing to push back against the president on not only his energy policy but other areas of unchecked spending that could exacerbate the economic crisis.
The polling from 2016 taught us all to be weary of political surveys. Even so, it is important to note that most national polls show inflation as the number one issue for Americans from all demographics. The most telling surveys are from groups like Higher Heights Leadership Fund, a non-profit organization supporting Black women's civic participation. In a recent poll commissioned by Higher Heights, ninety-seven percent of Black women said they are concerned about inflation.
And therein lies the biggest problem for the Biden administration and Democrats going into the midterms. By spending the last ten months pointing fingers rather than taking ownership and creating real solutions, they are weak with one of their most reliable voting blocs, Black women.
In a poll conducted by the Black Women's Roundtable and Essence magazine, only 65% of Black women said they would vote for Democrats in the midterms. Ninety-two percent of Black women voted for Democrats in the 2018 midterms.
If the Democrats cannot rely on Black women to save them, they have to be worried about the polls coming from other groups, like independents and young voters. In an election climate as divided as 2022, party loyalty is high, giving independent voters more influence. Sixty-nine percent of independent voters believe the country is on the wrong track. YouGov/Economist polling reveals that forty-seven percent of 18 to 29-year-olds believe the country is on the wrong track. Sixty percent of the more reliable voting bloc of 30 to 44-year-olds share that view.
With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, the administration continues to point the finger in other directions. Of course, the most important poll is the one on election day. But every major poll indicates that the American people are pointing the finger at President Biden.
Dee Dee Bass Wilbon is a partner at Bass Public Affairs. She serves on the board of Directors of the State Financial Officers Foundation and the Women’s Public Leadership Network. She also co-hosts the podcast Policy & Pound Cake.