As Republicans continue pushing forward on their plan to roll back voting rights, end Roe v. Wade, and stymie the January 6 commission, it has never been as important for Democrats to fight tooth and nail to protect Americans’ rights. Eleveld explained that the coming midterm election in November is one where everything is unprecedented, as we have a record high inflation. And despite the fact that there are blockbuster jobs numbers, people feel extremely down about the state of the economy.
She also shared thoughts from Drew Linzer, Director at Civiqs, Daily Kos’ poll and analytics partner company, who noted particularly alarming findings in a recent Daily Kos/Civiqs poll showing that “people feel really down about the economy — and not just a little down. I am seeing 10 year lows in how people feel about the economy … so, the economy, whether it’s really hurting people where it counts, or whether or not it’s a perception that it’s hurting people where it counts, people are totally flustered and frustrated. ”
“I think frustrated is a word that sort of implies everything, right? Frustrated about the pandemic. Frustrated about the state of the world. Frustrated about national upheaval about what’s going on with our politics, with democracy,” Eleveld added.
She believed that maybe Biden was just generally likeable on a certain level, but recent poll said otherwise:
[His popularity] didn’t come out in the poll, I have to tell you. The news was not good. A majority of registered voters either somewhat or strongly dislike Biden. A majority either say they don’t trust Biden or don’t trust him at all. A plurality said they thought he was a good person. But that was the best … So he’s not doing particularly great on any level.
In addition to worrying about the public souring on Biden, Sudbay also feels nervous about a lack of a sense of urgency among Democrats at the prospect of rights being taken away. He called out the apathy of those who have consistently brushed off the very real threats to our democracy, as well as our personal autonomy and safety:
Donald Trump told us there would not be a peaceful transfer of power. He said it several times. He wouldn’t commit to it, right? He told us. And we saw the shenanigans start to play out … [left-leaning] media publications saying, ‘this is a really serious situation.’ And you got the biggest eye rolls from people, like ‘What do you think he’s going to do? Launch a coup?’ Yes! Because he told us he was going to, and we know the people around him. It’s this weird thing, and it happens on other issues too, which brings me to the abortion issue.
For decades, Republicans have been saying, ‘We’re going to take away a woman’s right to have an abortion. We want to control their bodies. And Democrats will try to bring it up — we tried to bring it up in 2016, in 2020. And you get that same kind of, ‘ugh,’ from the smartypants crowd. Even progressives, a lot of progressives are like, ‘why do you keep saying that?’ They tell us what they’re going to do. But somehow, they tell us what they’re going to do, when we point out they say they’re going to do this, everyone is like, ‘Why are you saying that?’ I mean, they told us!
While the Democrats continue being stymied by Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, they can still take action, Zelaya, Eleveld, and Sudbay agreed. Much of the responsibility for that action, however, lies with Biden, who can use his executive power to accomplish the party’s goals.
In particular, Zelaya shared that she, like many other young people across the country, feels worried and uneasy about the future, and do not think that enough is being done to address the pandemic, climate change, attacks on our voting rights, and inflation and the economy. She acknowledged that while these things may not have originated with Biden, nor are they inevitably his fault, she wants to know, “Does he have a plan?”
Changing the composition of the Senate is also key to creating lasting change. “We are so close to getting what we want … if we can elect two or more Democratic senators, we can get this [stuff] done,” Sudbay urged, hitting home the importance of voting. Pointing out the extremes Republicans are going to rally their base, Sudbay contrasted that with the fact that the Democrats have these enormously popular proposals. While Republicans’ policies remain as unpopular as ever, “[they] don’t think twice about giving tax cuts to millionaires.”
“Joe Biden, rally your base,” Sudbay urged. “Do [stuff] for your base. Use that bully pulpit, use your executive authority. Let people know we can do this if we show up.”
Eleveld agreed, adding that Biden needs to take sweeping action, and soon, if he wants Democrats to win come the fall:
I think they need to do something big and blanket. He has the power to do it. And if Republicans want to challenge that in the courts, then have at it. Because that is going to be enormously unpopular. You can’t argue that we need more two Senate seats when you won’t even use the executive power that you have on behalf of the people who elected you.
She also noted that the energy she has seen from Representative Liz Cheney while on the January 6 Commission is admirable, and hopes to see that same doggedness from Democrats to fight for their agenda: “Step [it] up … I don’t think anyone is doing anything more right now — and I consider 99% of her politics to be abhorrent — than Liz Cheney. What do we need from President Biden? I think the vision that she has shown [to really get to the bottom of the events of January 6 and enact justice can guide Democrats’ action].”
As the hosts closed the show out, Zelaya emphasized how politics and risk-taking has shifted over the last few decades, highlighting a fresh urgency with which she hopes Biden will address the most pressing issues facing young Americans:
You have to take risks, and I think that Joe Biden, because he has been in [the] government for so long, still thinks that we can play nice and get along and not make a big splash, and it’s just not the politics of today anymore. And the truth of the matter is … I think that there’s also just an enormous cultural shift generationally, where Millennials and Gen Z, we have developed a sense of what we expect and want the future to be. In some parts, we are extremely hopeless, which is not a good place to have your young people. But in other places, and in other lines of how we think, we just take them as they should be. For people my age, the idea that marriage equality was [once] ‘not a thing’ is wild … so many things have just completely changed, and we, as Democrats, are not catching up to that.
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